Paranoia of Difference

Cultural Paranoia

The other day while I was playing with my daughter of 18 months, in a public park, I noticed an old woman taking mine picture. I was flabbergasted at first and little confused over her behavior. I wanted to confront her as I was infuriated but before I could do she had already left. What left me wondering did I violate any law or was it my light olive complexion which sparked her suspicion. This negligible behavior left me thinking about how we humans collectively suffer from an inherent fear of anyone who is different, whether it is the different complexion, culture or race.

Fear of Difference

Everyone seems to be scared of the other and gun lobbyists and media are milking on that fear.  I fear certain neighborhoods due to stereotypes in my mind while some might be fearing me due to their perceived threat. The racial profiling is not limited to any particular race or community rather it is prevalent in every society. I guess this springs out of a primeval fear. A fear due to the superficial difference. Every time we come across someone who speaks or looks different we become alarmed. This primitive fear has been passed to us from our forefathers who were cave-dwellers and hunters. They too feared rival tribes. Every community or individual belonging to a separate physical space became an enemy. Thousands of centuries later we humans still carry the same fright and terror.

Religious bigotry and regional chivalry are not new to me as I’ve worked in several countries. For some, I was white, for some olive for some a non-believer, if nothing I was only a woman. These biases are extremely widespread in my native culture too. Maybe unconsciously I have been a part of some of status quo too. I guess no race and culture is free of prejudices and stereotypes. We humans collectively suffer from our primitive phobia of anything which is different.  No one community has autonomy over bigotry, we all are similar in our responses because we all are humans.