Thursday, July 14, 2016

You mustache the right question for the answer you seek

"What are you?" asked my passenger.

"I'm a taxi driver,  specifically your taxi driver" I replied with a smirk.

"That's not what I meant" he said.

"You mustache the right question for the answer you seek" I replied.

"What nationality are you?" He rephrased his question.

I go on to tell him that I am Hawaiian, then Scotch Irish and it still was not good enough for him.

 Unfortunately, many people have this or a similar reaction to me. I have brown skin; some people say I look middle eastern, some believe that I am Mexican or Asian. I do not think it should matter because my skin color or nationality does not define who I am.

This particular incident happened about four years ago when I first started driving a taxi in Bellingham.   This sort of questioning happens often to me tho.  Even police officers attempt to ask without actually saying what they aren't legally allowed to question anyone about (race, religion or nationality).

"You ask me a question to set your own curiosity at ease. I answer your question honestly and tell you I am Hawaiian and you get upset. I tell you I am Scotch Irish on my mother's side and still you are not satisfied. However, then we find the common grounds to which we share, we are both Irish. So, then it is cool. Why must people classify me? Why not see me as what I am, just a peaceful, caring and kind human being."

"I have no boundaries, no borders; I am but one resident of earth; connected to all living beings on this planet; for I exist as they do. I am connected with you and the evidence is that you sit here with me here; we have been united for some reason however random it may appear."


Why must we label each other? Why put others into categories and form opinions without taking the time to learn who that person is on the inside? Why not be observant, ask meaningful questions, and have a decent chance to gauge who that person really is, based on your interactions? Before you stamp them with your label and judge them by it, think about how you have been judged unfairly and inaccurately. As the old saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. When will we learn that what goes around comes around? Can’t we just embrace individuality and live peacefully and blissfully side by side?

If everyone could be measured based on a set criteria then sorted into say 6 or 10 different classifications, then everyone would be the same 6 or 10 people. The world would be nothing but a whole bunch of sheep following each other around. I don't know about you but I refuse to conform to guidelines, criteria or categories. I am me and there is no one else like me!** Smart people know better than to try to catalog a human being based on surface assumptions…

**(Many people choose to live their lives as sheep because it's easier to do what everyone else is doing and think what you are told to think, than it is to make your own decisions and think your own thoughts. (More on the sheep subject in a later post.)
I would have hoped that we as humans would have learned from our past but we have not and therefore it will repeat itself. How many times in history has a certain "kind" of people been mistreated or killed off? Chaos and destruction of valuable human life simply because the victims were different and fell into an unfavorable minority.

People fear what they do not understand and if they don't take the time to understand "different" people then that fear breeds hate and that hate turns to violence, (violence doesn't occur in all cases but on a large scale this is true).

Think of the many instances of genocide; the Armenians massacred by the Ottoman government (during the First World War), the Holocaust when Jews were rounded up and massacred by the Nazis (during the Second World War) and more recently the Rwandan Genocide (during the Rwandan Civil War). There are more but you get my point. All of these examples of acts designed to dehumanize a particular ethnic, racial or religious group. I could go on for days about the injustices that the world has seen all because of human classification.

Obviously one passenger attempting to classify and label me is minuscule in comparison with Genocide but it all starts small. Starts with placing labels on people and passing judgment. We each have the power to make a small difference by existing peacefully. When you come across someone you do not know and maybe do not understand, look for the things you may have in common instead of looking for the differences. Learn to understand them by finding common ground. Don’t assume the worst but give them the benefit of the doubt.

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