I don’t understand hatred. I can’t wrap my head around the things that humans do to one another.
This world really baffles me some times. I recently read a post on Facebook about someone who had been treated poorly because of the colour of their skin. In the comments below this person’s friends, rightfully, expressed outrage at what was happening to people of their colour. Then, as I continued to read the comments one person said something along the lines of ‘stupid (insert racial slur against people of a different culture), they think they can come here and take over our country’.
You’re raging about how your people are being treated in one sentence and turning around and treating people of a different ethnicity than yours with the same lack of respect.
I just don’t get it.
I’ve never understood racism or bigotry or even just plain rudeness, for that matter.
I don’t even like it when my husband is terse with telemarketers. I used to let them go through their entire spiel until I realized that doing that wasn’t the nicest thing I could do for them, because they have a certain amount of calls and a certain amount of deals they have to make to reach targets and get paid, etc. So, now I try to interrupt them early on in a polite way by saying “Not right now, thank you” or “I’m not interested, thank you”. But, I don’t feel like I can hang up until they have said “bye”. And I always say “but thank you, anyways” one more time for good measure. My husband teases me because I feel too badly to just hang up.
Recently, I heard about a teenage boy with down syndrome who always wanted to be part of the “group” of guys at school and one day he thought he had got his wish. It was a cold day in February, with the temperature well in the minus digits, when he received a text from a boy in the group saying “we’re all hanging at the mall. You should come join us. Wear shorts, it’s kinda our thing’. Meet outside the front doors.” The boy arrived, in shorts, and stood outside in the cold waiting for the group of boys. They were inside, warmly wearing pants, laughing at him and filming him standing outside in shorts, waiting for them.
I just don’t.
My brain goes into convulsions anytime I hear things like this and almost completely shuts down because it cannot seem to process such things. I feel like it’s a bit of a problem, because I live in a state of suspended disbelief and denial all the time.
So, I try to understand it on a smaller, personal, level. I know that when I am feeling hurt, I can get mean. When I am hurt, a monster rages inside of me like you could not believe (well, my husband could, he sees this monster frequently enough). And, I could see myself doing all kinds of things that seem out of the ordinary for me because of it.
Is that what is happening here? Are people just hurt all the time and being mean because of it?
Could this be why someone, rudely, pushes you on a streetcar without so much as an “I’m sorry”? Is this why the boys in the story above thought it was funny to pick on someone, embarrass and endanger him?
Whatever the reasons, I don’t really understand it. I don’t understand gay-bashing, fat-shaming, racism, sexism, or people being mean or rude or even unhelpful.
Why don’t people want to be nicer to one another? I guess that’s what I’m saying I don’t get.
I live every day with a desire to be as nice as I can to everyone around me. And not just that. I don’t want to just be nice to those around me, I feel a deep drive to go beyond myself and help to make things a bit better or easier for people with whom I come in contact. Regardless of race, colour, sex, station in life, and so forth. I want to make the world a better place and if that means something as easy as saying “Thank you” to our streetcar driver, buying milk for someone who asks for it at Tim Horton’s or even something as simple as giving a smile to someone to acknowledge their existence, I like doing it.
I always assumed that this is the way people were. But, I’m learning otherwise.
Is it that people are not being raised to try and see things from others’ perspectives? Whenever I encounter a new person, issue, problem, etc. my initial thoughts are always ones of ‘how do I best understand this situation/person?’ and I automatically shift to ‘seeing it from that perspective’.
Maybe this is because I love complexities and have trained myself from a young age to always look at ‘the other side of the coin’ before making any snap judgements.
My Mom always used to tell us to be nice to waitresses/cashiers and anyone who was serving us in any way, because you never know what kind of day they might be having. You never know what sorrows, frustrations and pain someone is carrying around with them at any time.
And so, I assume everyone has something that is tough in their lives and I try to ensure I don’t add to that-or, if possible, maybe even bring some relief. Even if just for a moment.
Is it really that difficult?