The deep-rooted conflicts in the realm of the nation-state structures around the world are consuming millions in the endless acts of mindless violence that are both physical and mental in nature. The societies had never been under so much pressure before. The simmering stress in the societies works at the minutest of levels. As a result, the anger and hatred are spilling over onto the social media and the mainstream media as well. Engineering an inclusive mindset at the individual level is about the ultimate freedom from anger and hate. The first step towards engineering an inclusive mindset is by acknowledging within oneself that it exists and then comes the willingness to change. The significant truth that escapes most of the people is that being inclusive is a mindset and a mindset can be changed, which might be a long drawn process but definitely achievable. But before that change can be engineered the concerned people need to “accept” that ‘others’ also deserve what they themselves have or deserve. This has to be a conscious and intensive effort.
Though it seems simple, this act of acceptance has taken centuries and the humans are still in the woods – lost and scared. But now there is a huge difference in our lives, i.e, now everyone has access to the education and information that was the privilege for a few before. The globalization that we have witnessed in recent decades has resulted in unprecedented interactions among people. Events happening around the world have far-reaching reverberations and repercussions. The twenty-first century has seen social media becoming a great force; which has deepened the fault lines. On the other hand, it has become a great leveler too, because there are many more conversations than ever before. In fact, the planet earth is abuzz with ideas, words, and emotions.
For those who have been a little insulated, the fear of falling off the bandwagon populated by the people who are ‘similar’ is deep. For them ‘the different’ appears like a threat. This fear resulting from the identity crisis leads to the fearless, venomous venting on social media at times and bottling up the anger at other times. And most of the time, it is not real and innocent. Either way, it gets dangerous day by day.
Those who are privileged find it pretty stressful to be indifferent when ‘others’ behave differently. They find it difficult to establish causality, obviously because they have not suffered racism. They have been secure in their own financial freedom and social network.
Racism to be understood completely in its numerous ramifications needs to be experienced. And empathy does not do justice to this experience; partially yes but not wholly.
This is why it has to be a conscious effort on the part of the individual to remove very shred of racism from within through intense training of their mind.
Some of us are humans and aspire to remain so, but some are ‘super-humans’ and they aspire for more and more in terms of possessions. Happiness is not what they aspire for; they want a thrill. To get this thrill, they want more of many things that are many times an outcome of pushing others off the edge. This is not unnatural. This is (super) human. These humans find the ‘aspirational others’ as a hindrance to their pursuit of thrill. These super-humans are the ones who have cornered the resources of the earth to feed their chase of the ‘thrill’ and deprived the rest in countless ways. They are beyond repair on their own. The fact remains that they are fewer in number.
If an ordinary person is caught in the conflict zone of clashing aspirations, they need to take some time off to think. Most people obviously do not like the state-engineered suppression. But they do not want to be declared as an anti-establishment person. Still, the realities on the ground make them confused and angry. They do not know how to be on the side of those who are suffering without antagonizing the establishment. They struggle for that confidence to stand with the oppressed. To be on the right side of history, there is no other way but to choose the right side and stay there in a steadfast manner. One should not quit because of a lack of clarity and courage. And for this to materialize they need to become inclusive from within first. Exclusion is not a choice.
There are many who sit on the fence. They change sides frequently because they have not been the victims of racism themselves and they do not want to be on the wrong side. Such a privileged lot is a confused lot. At the same time, they have an open mind and are amenable to change, mostly because of the external influence.
To inculcate an inclusive mindset by dismantling the centuries of conditioning, the following steps should work for the fence-sitters:
- They should read about the history of the people who they think do not deserve what they have. Usually, such people may sound tiresome and irritating to a racist, because the latter has always seen the brighter side of life and they do not meet their ‘vision’ of a beautiful life. In fact, they fail to see that the life that they have is an outcome of the hard labor by the generations of these people. Now they need a place for themselves under the sun and they want to shine bright as the privileged. They want the same luxuries and amenities that their counterparts have enjoyed for generations. They have fought and worked hard to reach wherever they are now. Their valor needs to be appreciated because they are not blessed with the props that come with the inheritance of the wealth that cushions the life of a privileged person.
- In a conflict situation, a fence sitter should try to figure out as to what is at stake, in terms of material gains, i.e, which side is gaining what in the larger picture. Mostly it is all about possessions and resources. Trusting the media blindly is a folly. They must always check the source of information.
- The color of the skin does not impact the functioning of the brain or the moral fabric of a person, but poverty does. To like or dislike a person on the basis of their skin and being instrumental in throwing their generations into the dark dungeon of deprivation and humiliation has been an act of racism by the manipulators (thrill-seeking super-humans) that has huge ramifications for the society and therefore everyone. No one would like to be insecure because people around them are poor, right? Isn’t it better that they are happier because their refrigerators are also stacked with healthy food, the way yours is?
- The propaganda tools over a period of time have created the concept of the ‘beauty’ and the ‘brain’ as popularly accepted. These tools have excluded the ‘others’. Check out the ownership of these tools. Obviously those who think that ‘white’ or ‘fair’ is beautiful have to gain something out of it. There are so many shades of skin out there. If you are discerning enough, you will know that it is not the color of the skin that is beautiful, rather it is the health of the skin that is beautiful, irrespective of the color.
To conclude, the fence-sitters can make a lot of difference in the current atmosphere by doing what is right; by supporting the deprived through words and actions. It is a brave act to stand up for what is right and stay on the right side; and that can be done only by engineering an inclusive mindset.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Acoustic Post or its members.
Deepshikha Singh is a Leadership Coach and Author. She has trained and coached thousands of working and aspiring professionals in a career spanning more than twenty years. She is a published author and contributor to a number of business magazines. She has the experience of running her own venture in technology-enabled education and training.
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