“The prejudice of difference is a heavy load that blurs the past, threatens the future and makes it inaccessible.”
Difference. All around the world, Difference has its own appearance. Yet, the way some people face for so many years the difference, the simplicity, with which they see the different and the joy, with which they delight it in their lives, is for some other people – unfortunately many people – unthinkable.
Nowadays, people rather than evolving, exploiting the wealth of possibilities for knowledge, learning, instead of opening their minds to new things instead of taking steps in their lives and the way they face it, unfortunately prefer to remain inactive, stuck in obsolete views. Views of times of ignorance, which, nowadays, could be fatal. Prejudice is a child of ignorance. Prejudice for something that is not alike, for something unknown, for something different.
How is it problematic for a person to face anything different with suspicion? How easy is it to judge and criticize something you don’t understand, something you cannot feel. Something you don’t want to accept;
“Worthy, honest, and useful are only those who agree with us.”
Someone, who has different thought from us, chooses to live with a different way from us, and believe in something else, should be devalued and marginalized?
People feel that they have no right to differ from others, because they become a target, they become the focus of comments and gossip. They consider as the black sheep with the risk of being led to isolation. So, they prefer to drown anything. The different belief, the different opinion, different perception, and the habit to join smoothly in a crowd.
What kind of ideology is that, when a person react to that way against difference?
Most of people, didn’t understand that in nature, there is variety, and diversity. There is no right or wrong. We were born to be different, to follow our heart, our nature, not to follow the commonly accepted, the impositions of a society that loves similarity and condemns the different. Don’t forget that accepting diversity requires the principle of empathy. People without empathy have a lack of understanding and feeling others people situation.
The access from one geographic point of the planet to another. Goods transport and direct communication. Moving people between the different countries has not been so feasible. The numerous variety of people’s relationships. Different origins, different skin color, different religious and political views. All this variety of relationships took years of psychosocial development, efforts, social and political struggles.
And of all these efforts, one common feature, was the practical acceptance of the other over race, color, origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion. At the same time, however, there is an increase in racism, homophobia, xenophobia, intolerance and other restrictive, fearful and warlike perceptions that divide and inhabit people and cultures.
What do against the fear of difference?
From a psychological point of view, such beliefs usually have to do with the degree of psycho-emotional maturity of the individual. According to surveys, it is known that ages where people, who tolerates less the difference, and prefer to adopt absolute and fanatical perceptions, are around five and seven to eight years old.
These ages are important to a child, as the absolute clear positions help it to build the ego and the limits. The child is in an egocentric stage of development. Later, however, after the evolutionary stage, as a healthy teen and then as an adult, the person will be called to develop and reconstitute this stage throughout the life.
The problem will grow up, when an adult is left in the age of the eight psycho-emotional. This person may be otherwise open-minded in various other matters, but when questions come concerning the different, then these can be treated, as unprocessed and as simple as a child around 7 to 8 years old.
Psychologists say: “Like most fears, the fear for the different seems to be often limited by the provision of experiential education. When the education without the fear of the difference, and it is based more on the growth of trust, then children are listening and express the same messages.”
This, of course, also involves non-phobic teachers and parents, who have initially worked with themselves on these issues.
It has also been found: “When people come to know themselves and come into positive personal contact and communication with someone, who otherwise would be rejected for racist reasons, they often review their racist tendencies and become more receptive.”
This means that communication and contact are very important pieces to tackle the fear of the different.
Fear of the different in children
Interestingly, children who happen to experience with “different” people in a familiar environment, and behave exactly the same way towards them. They seem to have a lack of the concept of diversity, so they have no reason to feel embarrassed.
Surveys have shown that embarrassment turns or develops into fear, when the adults and the society imparts features it does not have. Fears, like ignorance, are contagious. Only the knowledge, the conscious effort to learn and to understand what makes the other different from us, is able to make us face it once without a second thought.
Smaller minds have the greatest prejudices
The humanity, the whole society have to be able to open up its mind. Enrich it with useful knowledge that will create better persons. Person in both as a unit and as a group, in order to survive and evolve.
Fanaticism, somewhere originated and expressed, it is able to bring about only division and disorder. There is space for all aspects, since they do not encourage and produce violence. What today frightens you and it seems inconceivable to you, tomorrow will be common accepted. History has proven it.
“There is little hatred in every love and a little love in every hate” (Rowan, 2000, on inter-penetration of opposites).
Don’t forget that a world without difference could not exist. Nothing would be worth and nothing would impress. A world without difference is not a world.
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