The events of the past few days have exposed the deep racial divide that runs through our country. It is not restricted to our country alone. A racial divide runs through the whole world. Why is that? At what point in our lives did we realize that “they” are different from “us”. Did our parents teach us that? Did our schools impart that thought? Does our desire to conform sow the seeds for these to grow? Maybe all of them in some form.
A racial divide is not the only comparison that drives our lives. We compare everything. Some notable ones – We compare beautiful people with those who are not. We compare the sophisticated with those who are not. We compare the rich with the poor. We compare the smart with those who are not. We compare the overachievers with the underachievers. We compare the fun people with boring ones. The list is long.
We don’t stop at just comparing.
Our interactions with them are influenced by our comparisons. Stories, movies, books, organizations are all built around these comparisons. News is all about highlighting somebody who made it to the right side and somebody who found themselves on the wrong side of these comparisons. We let these divisions be the engine which powers our goals, ambitions, and our plans. We thrive on these and celebrate when we find ourselves on the popular side of this divide. We build affinities around these. The thrill of this is so great that we insidiously seek it in other parts of our lives too. It then extends to nationality, political affiliation, race, color, and sexual orientation. We derive a sense of achievement from being on the right side of the equation and we bring up our guards to protect them. Traces of xenophobia and bigotry soon emerge in our behaviors. We seek shortcuts to these affiliations and the color of the skin becomes a convenient proxy. The result is a racial divide so deep that the color of the skin is enough to trigger discrimination, harassment, power misuse, and sometimes murder.
So, what are we to do?
I don’t claim to have all the answers. Maybe our lives should not be driven by comparisons. Maybe the value of humans as one should be above all other values. Maybe the concept of racial divides should unequivocally be deemed as the biggest threat to humanity. Maybe politicians should stop using race for opportunistic pouncing. I don’t know. However, I am very hopeful that humanity will find a way to obliterate these divisions in the mind and when the mind sees everyone as one, we will truly become one.