Welkin Projects

Embracing each other's differences

 
 


Africa and South Africa is one of the most multicultural and diverse societies in the world. This is our greatest strength.

We must appreciate the richness of difference that exists in our human family, empathise with all types of people, and wage war against discrimination.

Everyone has the right to be included and belong.


The Beauty of Diversity

The human race is extraordinarily in our diversity.  Gender, ethnicity, class, religion, nationality, race sexuality, philosophy and lifestyle. 

Yet at a basic level, we are all the same human species.  We experience up's and down's in life, and strive to be happy and fulfilled.

Our common pains and joys are what bring us together, but our diversity makes us unique, and together we can do so much more.

It is what deems you or I our own special person, one who has never existted before and will never exist again.

 

The Problem - Discrimination on the basis of difference

The list of major tragedies in our history that were caused solely by discrimination is mind blowing .............. Apartheid, Slavery, Genocide.

So many people have died or been deprived of basic human rights because of a lack of understanding - an understanding that difference in appearance, belief, or a way of life does not make one person better than the other.

And, the problem still exists today!


Today

In most of our minds, we possess assumptions that make us judge, avoid. or act awkwardly towards people who are different from ourselves.  Here are a few examples:


  1. Groups of frineds at a school consisting almost entirely of individuals of the same race or ethnicity.
  2. People using words like "retarded"or "spastic" to refer to someone lacking in mental capacity.
  3. A person avoiding an old friend after finding out that they are homosexual.
  4. A husband assuming his wife will stay at home, clean, cook and take care of the kids opposed to pursuing her own career.
  5. A boss choosing to hire an employee based on their religion, age or colour of their skin.


People often don't realize that actions such as these are being formed by underlying biases against a group of people.  The people who are the victims know it all too well.


It's Bad for Everyone

 

Real people. just like you and me, feel alienated, bullied, despised and mistreated every day.  Many of them are being deprived of their basic human rights. (Consider people with a disability)

The reason why this lack of understanding is damaging to everyone is less clear cut.  It has to do with how we come to find true happiness.

 

Compassion refers to  the love for and desire to help all people.  The definition of real love is having the ability to be kind and passionate with another.  Only through compassion and love can we find lasting joy.  Compassion allows us to walk down the street and see only the faces of our brothers and sisters - of other humans living the same life as us. 

Compassion allows us to realise our role in something much larger than ourselves.  It allows us to forget our selfish desires and to strive to better the lives of the less fortunate.  Truly caring for others fills us with purpose and peace.

The Solution

 

Prejudice and unfair assumptions are the enemy of everyone.  How can we overcome them?

The way to overcome our judgements and to realise real compassion and happiness is to work against the, constantly.  Here are a few strategies:

  1.  Everyone's Own Story - Consider your own life, and everything that has shaped your beliefs.  Realise that each of the 7 billion people on this planet has their own story.  Not one is the same  as yours.
  2.  Where are you coming from?  When you find yourself thinking poorly of someone else, stop and  consider what influends have created your negative views of that individual.
  3.  Befriend all people - If you know that you tend to avoid befriending certain types of people, go out of your way to find friends of all kinds.
  4. Empathy - When you encounter anyone, try to imagine, understand, and sympathise with that person's story, with everything that has made them who they are.
  5. Actively Accept - Meditate upon embracing other people, with all of the divesity that comes with them.  Don't all yourself to define a person based upon one stereotype about one aspect of their complex identity.
  6. Show compassion - Perform randome acts of kindness for all types of people.  It can be as simple as a friendly smile or holding open a door.

Understanding and accepting people from all walks of life is key to finding peace in our lives. Beyond that, it is of the utmost importance to making the world a place where all can live freely and without fear.



“The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.” - Erin Berne

― Jordan Bates