The title says it all. Racism and Bullying have been consuming our society. But, this isn’t some other prolific article on the prevailing cases. Well, you can say it is a bit inspired by them, but not typically on them.
So, as usual, I would try and propose some questions for you. Let’s go back in time and start from your school days, maybe when you were in class I. Now, just hit the play button and recollect all the times you were either bullied or body-shamed or had to face any racial comments.
Now again, go back and hit the play button, and this time recall the times when you were bullying or body-shaming or passing racial comments on to someone.
YES! You went through the phase at least twice, and at least once you were the devil too.
Now, this is neither shocking nor amusing. Each one of us (or to be less bothersome to you, most of us) has been through both the states. Which simply means that everyone is responsible and not only just a province, a government, or a community. The world, the people, we humans are accountable for all acts going on in the world.
Today, we all are so terrified of events such as the killing of George Floyd. We all yearn to end this racial battle soon. We wish to finish battles of bullying and body-shaming too soon. But, how will that happen? Have you ever paused for some minutes in your life and thought about the same? What can be done to accomplish the state where all the battles are concluded, and we all become triumphant?
Just by putting up stories and black DPs isn’t adequate for this state to be accomplished. These are just minor efforts which are soon disregarded, and six months down the line, we again have some grave incidents like this.
You, my friend, are so much proficient in doing great deeds, yet you fail to deliver.
I have been in discussion on such sensitive topics with some people. All I can surmise is that there have been several cases where we as individuals could have raised our voices and failed to deliver. Sometimes it’s the peer pressure, sometimes it’s the frustration, or sometimes it’s just who we are.
That is perfectly fine! But the dilemma is that because of all such incidents where you were the devil or on team devil’s side, you fail to speak up consistently.
Maybe at workplaces, or our homes, or in our neighborhoods; if we see something like this occur, do we go running to save people?
Ask yourself? Do you do that?
Most of the time, it’s our parents who prevent us from helping or interfering in someone’s life. That’s okay! They do that out of the concern and worry and fear too. But some of the other ways, it happens—we fail to deliver.
And with us being part of such diminutive acts of evil, we fail to deliver consistency. I will demonstrate to you with this real-life incident, and I am not at all embarrassed about this as I soon discerned what’s right and what’s wrong. Moreover, I accepted where I was wrong.
One of my friends in college was fat. And he was black. I still remember the first year of college, in a group of 9-10 people, we used to make fun of him. We used to call him fat (yes, I did too) but I never called him black. Though, people in the group did say that to him. I never spoke anything against him, but neither did I discoursed for him.
Soon, I moved out of the group due to several differences, but one fine day, in the college library, I saw that guy sitting at the extreme left corner of the library. I did recognize him, but I was anxious that he might yell at me or maybe spill out some harsh words on me. I kept mum!
After days of continuously observing him there, and the most astonishing part was that he used to be idle, I grew some confidence to talk to him. I went to that table with my books and laptop and sat there. In utter silence and awkwardness, I greeted him, and he didn’t respond. This series continued until one day he stopped me from sitting on the table.
In his words, he was pretty much annoyed yet tormented. He urged me to find another table and avoid sitting with him as others would start bullying me too.
Out of nowhere, he conferred some concern for me. This made me say the three golden words to him. (Not I love you guys, but I said “I am sorry”)
His eyes and his reactions were pretty apparent, and in some days after my repeated attempts to establish a connection, we finally became Instagram buddies. (Ah! you might be thinking about the friendship right?)
Slowly, we both discussed a lot of things about our lives, but he always kind of overlooked the topic where he was fat-shamed and was called black. One morning, when I woke up, I received a message from him saying “Thank You!”.
I wasn’t happy, rather I was amused that why the hell is he thanking me. That day, I skipped my classes, and we both were in the canteen having tea with kachoris. He told me that he was passing through a tumultuous time and was very disturbed with people commenting on him. He mentioned about me being a sigh of good hope to him and how our friendship unfolded and developed him as an individual.
That day, with tears in my eyes, I vowed to him that I would never in my life body-shame someone, fat-shame someone, and be a part of a group where people pass phyletic comments on others. Moreover, I vouched to take a stand against such people/groups.
That episode made me apprehend that we as individuals by consciously or unconsciously hurt people. Maybe it is an entertaining moment for us, but some people suffer because of that. It is not about a person being vulnerable or stable. It is just that some elements trigger an individual, and there might be an appropriate inference following it.
We are often ignorant of the facts of other people’s lives, but that shouldn’t allow/authorize us to pass comments on someone.
To sum up, we all have done or been part of such actions someday. We have disturbed an individual, if not many. The exercise which I made you do in the beginning (to recall the past), was just for the purpose that today, while you finish reading this piece, you manage to accept your mistakes, and allow all the negativity wash away.
Doing this would benefit in some or the other way. Some might just feel a bit more light-hearted, some might feel confident enough to speak out to their friends about such incidents or maybe even the ones who they victimized. Some of you might even have the courage developed now, to raise your voice with more power and ground when actual shit is happening around.
See, our society has all these issues going around- Racism, Bullying, Lynching, and whatnot. One can not stop this in a single day or even a single year. Such things take time to change, but that doesn’t mean you need other people to take action. The change, at last, begins from you, an individual.
We all are well educated, and due to social media and better connectivity, we can observe several circumstances. It is not that these weren’t occurring when you were not alive, or this was never the situation in the 18th century.
But buddy, you need to disregard the past now. You need to perceive, that how you as an individual can change society. And for that, I hope I encouraged you to recall those incidents where you were the devil, by carrying out bullying. So, throw that devil out of you, and understand that this is a long battle to fight and victory is nowhere near.
“With courage, compassion, and a deeper sense of bringing change to society, one can turn the world upside down. It is just a matter of realizing your true self and accepting your negatives. The moment you turn these negatives into positives, my friend, you can climb mountains.”
I happened to change a lot with my circumstances and mistakes in life. And trust me, reflecting, and accepting the evil is the best medicine for any poison. This can be the first step to putting an end to Racism and Bullying.