When I was at school, it was a fairly normal suburban north-west London set up. The percentage of white-black was around 95%-5%. Yet colour was never mentioned, and never even entered into my mind that something was different. Beyond those thoughts, we were set up into different classes depending on how we were doing academically. Inside that, we were put into different groups, with names, like Shaftesbury and Byron – then also put into red groups and yellow groups.
As soon as a distinction was made, the idea of racism is also born. It’s part of human nature. In the playground, if you had larger ears than ‘normal’, you’d probably be called “big ears”. If you have a limp you may be called “hop along”. How you dealt with that, became your character. The differences and how they are perceived is what we commonly call racism, or not.
I have been privileged to watch my friends daughters grow up, about one and a half years apart. It’s very clear that they are not one person. They let us know that this is ‘their’ toy and not anyone else’s. Despite attempts to show them that they can share and all is well, ‘mine’ is very important and anything that gets in the way of that will be destroyed!
I recently gave a talk to the international conference for female police officers in Cardiff. The subject of my talk was that there are no victims in life. A risky subject to a group of people who deal with that distinction every day of their lives. Yet, from my experience. to allow yourself to be a victim, will encourage someone to step up as a bully. If you or I determine that “we are ok”, then there is no space for someone to contradict that. And even if they do, their power will soon melt in the face of no resistance to bully energy.
Below is an excellent example of how language effects our perceptions in life:
In NLP, the whole notion of the presuppositions is to take away any idea of being different and find language that gives us all power. As a communicator, the presupposition “The Meaning of the Communication is the Response you Get” is one of the most empowering life sentences you can have. That’s total responsibility, (or you can read it as respond-ability) and takes away the whole notion of someone else determining the outcome to your positive intention. Most people have not evolved past their animal conditioning enough to act out of the presuppositions as yet in mankind. Yet, we know that they are a great ladder up to challenge our negative adrenal based system (fight or flight).
So we can agree, as humans that are evolving our animal conditioning, we will be subject to a challenge when differences seem to threaten what we like or are comfortable with. And that our evolution is also to integrate parts of ourselves that negatively and destructively disagree with the whole.
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Which, in some ways, is similar to the way we currently view our bodies. Any symptom or disease (you can also read dis-ease) that we don’t understand, becomes a huge threat. And our reaction to that is to “nuke’ it with anything that we can get our hands on. It is an ‘alien’, nothing to do with our lives and must be killed at all costs, even if it means killing our own bodies to do it. That would be instead of having the intelligence and foresight to understand the symptoms, know that it is part of us and dealing with it accordingly. If we take that back out to the macrocosm, the middle east is the same scenario, with things that we don’t quite understand being attacked to kill them off.
Which brings us back to the situation with refugees and racism. The meaning of the communication is the response you get!