When a child is raised under the heavy blanket of a label such as “visible minority”, he or she is set-up to perceive the people around him (the “dominant culture”) as having a set idea or automatic judgement of him, or where he stands in relation to them. This not only dictates his actions or reactions, but in turn, may support any preconceived notions that another may have in regards to his “label”. This is detrimental to all. We cannot overlook the fact that individuals make up the whole, whether it be races, groups, neighbourhoods or religions…..individuals have their own thoughts, ideas and perceptions of the very same, or similar experiences. Our eyes and ears must be open to each. While it is essential to notice and respect unique cultures, traditions and races, I believe we must begin to first see people as human beings, and teach our children to do the same. To do so, would break down the barriers of pre-programmed mindsets, assumptions and stereotypes and instead, open hearts and minds to compassion, empathy and respect for fellow human beings.
Mothers and fathers, teachers and caregivers must begin to ignite the spark of possibility and destiny in each and every one of their children. These young people must not be suppressed from the very beginning by the constrictions that others have placed on them in the past, and that parents and others perpetuate. Hope and possibility must be what we raise our children with, so that they may feel and know it for themselves and come to expect it as only natural for all others to know and feel individually.
We are perpetuating oppression, suppression and severe social inequality by focusing not on human potential, but on who and where we are categorized and placed in society’s uneven and unfair hierarchy.
Sincerely look into the child’s eyes and let his ears hear the words of hope, and encouragement. Fuel his mind with thoughts and dreams of possibility, opportunity and empowerment. Let words which restrict open minds and hearts go. Imagine how strongly we will move forward together, once we know how to move with strength and determination alone. The whole, made up of scattered and malnourished parts is weak. Made up of focused and flourishing components, unstoppable.