Since the election in November here in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK, our society seems to have fallen into a free-for-all of hate and violence. I’ve posted on the vicious cycle in the past. Quite recently, in fact. Since that post, I’ve seen news of more vehicles being used to plow into crowds of Muslims during Ramadan. And then there’s 45 (I don’t use his name) breaking a long-standing tradition of the White House celebrating Eid. He also didn’t say a word on Pride Month, so at least his hate is consistent.
One thing I’ve noticed, at least here in the US, is that a large number of people killed or harmed in hate crimes are not “white Christian people” (for the record, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m a white somewhat-Christian female), but people of color as well as non-Christian religions and LGBTQIA. Vehicles plowing into crowds of Muslims outside their own mosques, LGBT being attacked and arrested for wanting to show their pride, black men and women being gunned down by citizens and police alike, etc… the list just keeps going.
This cycle is perpetuated by fear of the unknown. That fear becomes hate. Are there attacks by non-whites? Yes. But the ratio of white attackers to non-white attackers, at least in the US, leans toward more whites than non-whites. Here in Portland, hate crimes and discrimination are on the rise. And we’re a pretty damn liberal city. Our surrounding cities and counties are not so liberal, though, and we have a lovely mass transit system here. One I use all the time. If my queerness were more obvious, I might get some random jackass giving me shit. My mohawk isn’t quite enough. Remember, this is a very liberal city. And I’m not quite queer-looking enough to get harassed.
We fear what we don’t know or understand. This is fairly common human nature. The nature of our society. The thing is that we have access to more information at our fingertips than our not-so-distant relatives. If you don’t know something, look it up. Ask questions, talk to people. If you fear Muslims, go to the site for TED Talks (also, if you have Netflix, they have a fair number of them there as well) and look up the religious ones. If you want to understand POC or LGBTQIA, …. ASK! No harm in putting a question out there.
The only stupid question is the one that never gets asked.*
Ask. Listen. Learn. Seriously, learning isn’t just in a classroom. Each day, we have a chance to learn from our surroundings. Take advantage of that.
The more we know, the less we fear. Okay, except for spiders… that’s my weakness… I know plenty about them, but still don’t like them. But when it comes to humans, just learn. When we communicate and learn from each other, the barriers we build in our minds and our society will break down and we can work together.
That’s all for now… sorry I’ve been quiet.
(* – Although if you ask me, as an Asexual person, about amoebas or how we mate, that is one question you should keep to yourself. It gets old.)