A friend asks, “Have you seen a movie called Hidden Figures? It’s about incredible women of colour working at NASA, during the space race, carrying out complex mathematics before the use of mainframe computers.” This was a time of exploration into new frontiers, yet these women, critical to this NASA mission, were faced with major obstacles such as running half a mile to use the ‘coloured bathroom’ in another building, as this was during the times of segregation!
It makes me wonder how could we have been in the ‘space’ age, an era of “boldly going where no man has gone before” and yet so ‘uneducated’ about basic human rights? Maybe that statement provides us with a clue “where no man has gone before.” How did we not see the irony of looking for ‘others’ beyond our planet while this blatant inequality was at the core of the mission? Do we become desensitised to the unacceptable when it’s the norm? Does this explain why almost 60 years later inequality still seems so current?
It’s 2020 about to tip over into 2021 and the news is filled with stories about silent, grossly unfair discrimination from the #MeToo movement to #blacklivesmatter, decriminalisation of domestic abuse in Russia, establishing of LGBT free zones in Poland; to the UN review, 25 years after adopting the Beijing Platform for Action, stating “faltering progress (in achieving the expected outcomes of the landmark gender equality plan) and that hard-won advances are being reversed by rampant inequality, climate change, conflict and exclusionary politics.” Announced on International Women’s Day. Ironic!
What is wrong with us as a species, why do we seemingly remain unable to get our sh*t together? When will we wake up from this illusion of difference and jaundiced mentality to understand WE ARE ALL THE SAME! Regardless of colour, creed, religious affiliation, sexual orientation there are good people, middle of the road people and some not very nice people. It has nothing to do with what labels you use to define yourself but as good old Maslow states our basic needs and drivers, as a human species, are the same regardless; at our most ‘basic’ we ‘care’ about ensuring our physiological needs are met and at our most ‘evolved’ we look to be self actualised, amongst other things embracing all aspects of our selves and others. In short ‘good’ people around the world want the same things regardless or circumstances, race or any other defining characteristic we used to divide ourselves.
Imagine if dogs, cats, horses or any other animal that has distinctive breed or colour differences behaved in this way. “We hate you because you have brown fur.” “Well we hate you because you have spotted fur, a short nose and belong to THAT breed.” We as humans would no doubt make a ‘funny’ reality TV programme laughing at how ‘stupid’ their behaviour was towards each other. Of course, the superior amongst us will state that animals aren’t intelligent enough to understand the implications of these difference. OR maybe the animals scoff at our ‘simplistic’ view of another human and are waiting for us to get with the programme. One whereby we finally understand what they have known for millennia, our aim is to live in harmony with all living organisms and diversity is the key to survival.
So why are we so lame at making progress? Is it that good (people) are less driven than not so good (people)? Is it our addiction as a species to the ‘drama triangle’ and only being interested in viewing the car wreck of someone else’s dire circumstances? Do we constantly have this ‘state’ reinforced with regards to our exposure to TV & film dramas, social media and news stories? How do we break this cycle of suspended animation and take strides to improving our lot as a coherent and evolved species? What did you do today to make a difference? What did I do other than ‘soap box’ in an article. What can we all do?
7 things we can all start to do NOW
- Pay more attention to the fodder we feed our mind, especially the background subliminal ‘junk food’ we may not realise impacts our mindset or apathy for making a difference. For as we think so we behave and create.
- Make a commitment not to lead with the latest gossip but raise awareness in our daily conversations “interesting fact – did you hear 60 years ago some incredible women (X,Y & Z) broke the gender and equality barrier ….”
- Re-engineer our social media – we all post on various platforms. What is often a nightmare of ‘funny’ memes, as well as insidious, silent ‘funny’ discrimination can start to be transformed by YOU just by posting different content and not sharing other content.
- Walk the talk – let Gen Z see that we stand for our beliefs and don’t just pay lip service. They are a generation that are proving that you can galvanise others into action but you have to get your hands dirty.
- Come together, in the wise words of Helen Keller “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Look for ways to connect and use your ‘different’ to positively impact the world. Support projects where diversity is celebrated and used to positively affect all.
- Get some help and support to find your voice, become more visible and make a positive impact in YOUR world. This could be as informal and diverse as finding a local interest group, starting a book club or joining a spiritual development circle where you can come together with likeminded individuals. Or you may choose a more structured approach such as a personal development coaching programme.
- What can little ole you do? “I’m just one person in a sea of inequity, where would I even start even if I could make a difference; which I doubt.” Sound familiar? JUST DO SOMETHING, you may be the flap of a butterfly’s wings that creates a whirlwind of change for yourself or another. Even if it’s to implement one of these simple steps.