Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Understanding Human Diversity: Allen Dew

Understanding Human Diversity: Allen Dew


I know a lady who likes to watch talent shows. Her favourites have always been singing competitions. From American Idols, The Voice USA, The Voice Nigeria, X-Factor UK, X-Factor USA to all other singing shows that exist. She would watch it, analyse the contestants and give her verdict. Over the years, she became very good at listening to the musical sounds and judging the contestants. How did I know? Her verdicts were never too different from what the professional judges gave.
But then, I noticed a trend. In each of the competitions, even though she tries to be fair, her favourite contestants were always black, young females. She would normally pin-point them as the stars of the show. Many times, whenever, those females got eliminated, my friend would be very disappointed. She might even decide to skip the remaining part of the season for that particular show.
One fateful day, I pointed out the trend to my friend. Yes, those ladies (singers) were talented, but is there a reason why you seem to like the people who fit your profile more than the others? I asked.
It’s not that my friend felt that the young, white singers were not good; on the contrary she also liked some of them but she always believed that one particular young, black, female singer was better – even better than the young, black, male singers. There were times that the competition would have many young, black female singers, my friend’s favourite will be just one of them. She would like the other black singers equally as she liked the other races and gender, but you could tell what the profile of her favourite contestant was.
My friend is a good person; I know good people when I see them. Their works and lifestyle always show them as good people. She is young, black, educated and very open minded. She is passionate and gives everyone equal opportunities. The trend with the affinity for certain singers is not only limited to my friend. It applies to all of us; it’s something we should handle carefully.
There are some very important points here: firstly, it’s not a bad thing to like people that fit your specific profile; it becomes bad when you choose to be unfair to the other people who don’t fit your profile. My friend had affection for all the contestants, judged them on their merits. She did not prejudice any contestant based on race, gender, sexuality or religion. She loved all, but gave extra love to a particular set. It’s a fine line but all humans must ensure that equity is served.
Secondly, based on my experience gained by observing humanity in my travels, it is obvious that White people like other white people, Blacks are attracted to blacks, Asians have more affinity toward other Asians, Latinos like Latinos; this is a fundamental principle of life and we all should be open minded enough to accept this reality. The problem starts when we believe that the love for our “kinds” and the love for “other kinds” are mutually exclusive. There is enough love in a human heart to go around if we consciously desire to be fair to “other kinds”. Like the popular saying “the human heart learns to love naturally but it has to be taught to hate”.
Thirdly, keep an open mind about everyone. Never be in a haste to judge others. As we age, our environment and the things that happen in life (sometimes unfair stuff) can prejudice our minds against other people; racially, ethnically, sexually, religious wise, status based categorization etc; make conscious effort to be fair to all humans. Most times, it is very easy to give the benefit of doubt to people of our “kind”; ensure to give the same slack to people of “other kinds”. If we all do this, humanity will be a better place.
There is a good saying, “we all complain that the world is a dark place, if you light your candle and I light mine, in no time, the world will be as bright as the sun”.
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