Prejudice is learned. It is cultivated by childhood teaching, peer group pressure and media propaganda. I cannot lie; for many years I was guilty of the practise. Homophobia and racism was part and parcel of my upbringing. Religious indoctrination shaped my thinking up until my mid-teens – which was, in essence based on fear, pressure, guilt and supernatural symbolism. At the age of 13 I was hung over the bannisters by my religious education teacher in school for daring to question the legitimacy of the gospels. Episodes like that tend to force you into towing the line. It has taken decades for me to shake off the shackles – but as I enter my 6th decade, reality has finally hit home. Many may say that it has taken too long for me to see the light. They are absolutely correct – I now realise how blinkered I was to reality. Admittedly I could make excuses… but frankly, none of them would hold water. Call it an epiphany, or what you will… let’s just say I’ve seen the light.
I like many people was a victim of bullies as a youngster. Looking back it was only mild bullying…mainly hurtful comments or being shunned. However, I’m ashamed to say I did it myself to a few people – joining in with the crowd. Interestingly, by far the worst bullying I’ve encountered has been in an adult working environment. People taking advantage of their position to make you feel small, undermining your confidence and ridiculing you – usually due to a huge inferiority complex. So why am I talking about bullying?
Well, intrinsically bullying it is the theme of this blog. We are surrounded by bullies in every walk of life. Religious institutions dictating how people should live their lives. Governments persecuting and manipulating their people and outsiders. Multinational companies forcing us to live our lives in a manner shaped for their own financial gain.
So where do I start? As a heterosexual, I’ve never really truly been able to relate to homosexuality. I don’t have the same sexual urges and therefore it is a difficult for me to fully empathise with the concept. However, what I do know is that being gay does not hurt anyone. Every human being has a choice to live their lives in the manner they wish. I subscribe to the viewpoint that as long as someone’s choices and actions do dot harm anyone else, then let them be. If an individual chooses to drink alcohol, smoke cannabis, take cocaine, or use any other choice of drug, let them. If as a result of taking it they hurt anybody, then is the time to take action. It is as simple as that. Following the same principle, if an individual chooses to follow a particular faith, or to worship a God, or to preach about their beliefs, that is fine – but when others are hurt, bullied or victimised as a result, a line must be drawn.
Moving on to political decisions. How many are made that cause harm to individuals? Austerity is bullying of the highest and most severe form. It is avoidable and protective of those who oppress all of us. Pollution affects our health, yet the consequences are ignored. War is all about financial gain – pointless and orchestrated – yet our heads are filled with propaganda and diversion.
Unless we stand up to the bullies we are doomed. So empty your heads of indoctrination, prejudice and domination. Resist the programming to which you have been subjected. Fight back!