In today’s globalized world, we are connected more than ever before, but does that mean we are more accepting of others?
In celebration of world tolerance day, I thought of discussing an important social issue: Bigotry. We live in an age of interconnectedness like never before; an era of technological advancement that made it all possible. Then comes the question, if the world is digitally and physically closer, wouldn’t social and cultural boundaries become more fluid? The answer is no.
The latest American presidential elections have shown us that the general public is moving more and more towards conservatism rather than openness. One can’t help but wonder, are we as people of different nations becoming more or less accepting of others?
One would claim that our generation suffers less from the poison of bigotry, but unfortunately, sometimes, it’s as if things have never changed. If you look back into history, our region was always a hub of multi-ethnic people as a byproduct of our country being a trade hub. Today, we might see a separation of “us” against “them”, albeit in some more than others. Whether that is in terms of nationality, ancestral decent, or even gender. We tend to convince ourselves that we are more accepting and tolerant than the previous generations, but sometimes, some people seem to be moving in the opposite direction.
As such gender and racial discrimination creates a “superiority” complex amongst some of us. We all might have practiced some form of bigotry, one way or another at some point in our lives. To some, this has become a norm evident in their daily language; for example, it could be the intolerance of other religions, cultural practices, material wealth, or personal ideals. Something such as bigotry in marriage where many families don’t agree to intermarry with certain families due to clashes in the socio-economic status of the families or ethnic history.
Nonetheless, we can take this opportunity (the world tolerance day) for change towards a more tolerant and empathetic community. I end by saying that tolerance is a virtue, an end result if you may, of a long process of knowledge, understanding, and awareness.
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
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