The everyday rose-coloured glasses

 

What if we began teaching our children to see people through rose-coloured glasses? Because honestly, I am so riled by colour differences, even though I am on the ‘safe’ side.

You notice me when I enter the room, as I walk along the street, or while going to the kiosk to buy some bread; my white skin colour is shining bright. And I am not only white; but rich, powerful, and knowledgeable too. I don’t mind. Really I don’t. I have a higher status, simply by my skin colour. Easy, isn’t it? But what is happening on the other side? With the darker-coloured folk. Nowadays, it is even the colour used to describe terrorists in Europe. But previously, it was preserved for the poor. For generations, the poor and needy have been dark-skinned – on the streets, outside the churches and mosques, in newspapers, and on TV.

However, it is not only what you think about the others, but what others think about you. I met a friend as I was leaving a local supermarket, and she cynically wondered if none of the international brands were opened. With no chance to explain, she drove off. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so powerful and rich. Why? Because in an instant, she decided that I was poor and needy. And for a moment, I did feel poor and needy because of a perception imposed by someone else. Just like that, a picture of me is made, with no opportunity to clarify, or even inform her of my card limit. So you decide that I am poor because I am not your depiction of success.

Furthermore, our thoughts translate into action. Why the need to go to a developing country to dig a borehole for the poor? Why the need to spend half my salary building a school for people I have not even met? Having pity on an old, feeble person crossing the street… Does that sooth my conscience, knowing that I have made a contribution?

Seriously though, do we want to continue like this? I thought most of us are from this ‘globalized generation’ which crossed boundaries and saw the different realities, the realities which are so much broader!

Should we not begin to tell our kids the reality or do we let them be bamboozled by this power game brought about by skin colour?

No, no, no. We cannot. Still, it’s not that simple. Why would I let go the feeling that “I am better than you”, and risk exposing my insecurities by judging you based on your colour?

Imagine we are putting on the rose-coloured glasses. Or we can call them ‘glasses of indifferences’. If we all put on these glasses and see all human beings in the same way, we will not judge them because we assume their background, origin or state. We will not value them because of our pre-conceived ides. We are not putting ourselves higher or lower than them because we already know their capacity. We just see them as they are. We will consequently give everybody a chance to approach us, and talk to us. And we will allow ourselves to hear and understand. It is not about denying our backgrounds. On the contrary, it is about acknowledging the differences, accepting the similarities, and embracing the diversity. It is about listening, observing and discovering.

It has been said that we should look through our eyes and not with our eyes. That way we get to appreciate what we see.

What if we changed our children’s bedtime stories to teach them to see every person through rose-coloured glasses? What's more, if we want to change the narrative, we need to get rid of our misconstrued perceptions of people around us – and that only works if we are not spending hours taking selfies at every occasion, but if we talk and listen to people.

Listen.

Listen without judging. Merely listen to understand. It may be difficult at first, but possible. And yes, once we capture the story, the new and different story, the story from a real life, the story which is full of wonder and excitement – we can share it with our children. Most likely they will fall asleep due to the thrill of the narrative, but in the end, it will be truly worthwhile.

Do put on your rose-coloured glasses the next time you meet your new neighbour will you!

 

in Blog

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