I hold certain beliefs that would offend other people, much of these beliefs are a product of my upbringing and my culture. It is this difference in opinion and outlook that makes travelling so enjoyable; different food, languages, beliefs and most importantly, different opinions, are the some of the great joys of travel. There is, however, a price to pay for this global variety of thought and custom; you may hear opinions and creeds that you disagree with, or worse, find offensive. The trick, however, is to not take offence nor assume a moral superiority when faced with these varied ideas and opinions, and instead, to recognise that people should be free to believe whatever they want.
Rather bizarrely, despite the many strides that have been achieved within the sphere of “Civil Rights” over the past 50 years, it seems we are living in a period of time where the freedom to have ideas that go against mainstream consensus are not even allowed to be voiced, and are instead, treated with a level of moral outrage and vitriol that would make the Spanish Inquisition blush..
In a world where social diversity is permanently promoted as a net gain; the lack of tolerance that greets opinions that go against the mainstream is a curious irony.
I was sent some messages yesterday that had been screenshot from FaceBook. It was of a conversation between two people I know well, however, it was a conversation that I found very irritating.
Both parties were decrying the need for people to write down their race when filling out government forms here in Singapore. The general gist of their point was that people should just think of themselves as part of the human race and that nationality, religion and presumably culture are all unnecessary social constructs that have been designed to deliberately divide us, and manipulate us into unnecessary conflict.
What complete and utter drivel, people are thankfully different and diverse, religions can be both positive and divisive, and being proud of your country does not necessarily equate to being racist, it can instead equate to an awareness and appreciation of your cultural and family traditions. It is these differences and belief systems that make the world such an interesting place.
That said, I do wish people would focus on Culture rather than race, in my experience somebody’s race tends to tell you very little about that person, whereas their Culture tends to be enormously illuminating.
Race is irrelevant and Culture is everything.