The year is 2021 and our world is still struggling under the effect of a global pandemic. COVID 19 has killed millions all across our planet and changed some of the fundamentals of employment, healthcare, and community. Everywhere isolated people gaze into their screens and wish for a “return to normal”.
I hope that their wishes do not come true.
Don’t get me wrong here. I miss the many freedoms that I took for granted. I miss the strolls around town, the casual contacts and the planned meetups. I miss going out for food or drinks, enjoying a movie in a cinema, or even walking down the street without fear of inhaling the wrong breath of air that could see my life end. If that is the normal then yes, I wish for that.
What I don’t wish for is the return of an imbalanced system that plays off favouritism, prejudice, and bias. A system where people are diminished, dismissed, or worse abused and killed, because of some perceived difference. That’s what a lot of it is after all, a perception of difference. Two people can have the same number of fingers and toes, the same height and build, the same eye and hair colour, but be treated differently because of skin tone, or perceived gender, or culture and language. We have been bombarded with media that tells us that anything “other” is bad or dangerous, or weak, or criminally inclined, based on some perceived difference. The white guy is the hero, the person with the darker skin tone or the foreign accent, or the physical deformity is the villain. We have been exposed to this curated perspective of generations and it has done nothing other than glorify a false ‘norm’ and vilify those who do not meet that ‘norm’.
The world is forcibly changing now, so given that we have been gifted with a ‘soft reset’, rather than an apocalypse, why don’t we take the chance to redefine what ‘normal’ should look like?
I think it should be normal for any person working a job to receive a basic fair equal pay as anyone else working the same job. Sure, experience and specialist education can enhance a person’s expected remuneration, but things like their gender, race, or ethnicity should not be barriers to entry or a balanced income.
What about access to medical treatment? It’s a pretty serious requirement to continue in this thing called life, yet here again folk are excluded from necessary treatments because of their access to wealth. Some people in our world are forced to make a choice between life preserving medicines because of cost. They need to pay for the one critical meds or die, but can’t afford other medications. In a way they are forced to pay for a slower death than a faster one.
Should we talk about education? I think that a greater effort needs to be made to ensure that everyone, at any level of their development as a human can access education. Demanding that a person alter their physical appearance to access education should never occur, but unfortunately we have a society where female presenting people are so sexulaised that some education institutions believe that they should be discriminated against so that the male presenting people can “learn in a distraction free environment”.
What about a world where a person is free to travel? Where people fleeing persecution in their own country are accepted and assisted openly? A world where refugees will not be locked up on cages, children stripped from their parents and held without due cause?
How about a world where the protection of the law is not subject to a person’s colour or ethnicity or gender? Where a human can expect to be seen impartially be the law and is considered innocent until there is unequivocal proof of their guilt? A world where a lawyer would never consider asking a victim to describe what clothes they were wearing as some strange justification of the harm done upon them?
Some of these statements and questions may seem familiar to you at this point and honestly they should, because these are some of your entitlements as a Human. That’s correct, you reading this right now have certain rights that you are entitled to just by the act of existing. This is one of the most important things that we as a species have ever declared and if you dont know them already I would hope you will take a minute to read them as declared by the United Nations.
There is one particular right that everyone seems to know and many choose to cite whenever they are questioned and that is Article 19.
This too is a human right. Any person anywhere has the right to their own opinion and the right to express their opinion.
They do not have the right to avoid consequence of those opinions though. No where in the articles of the United Nations list of human rights is a person excused the consequences of their actions.
Every person is entitled to an opinion, but that doesn’t mean they have an entitlement to force others to accept their opinion, or even engage with it. As with the above article 19, I have the right to hold the opinion that trans men are men and trans women are women. I have the right to hold that opinion without interference and to read and share information about that opinion with others. I do not have the right to force other people to agree with my opinion. Holding this opinion doesn’t allow me to avoid consequences caused by my freedom to express my opinion. I’m not entitled to a position in groups, or jobs, or communities. If these places don’t accept me because of my opinions I can try to prove in the eyes of the law that I was discriminated against, or simply take my opinions elsewhere.
The world is changing, and as a collection of cultures, nations, and ethnicities, our opinions are changing too.
No longer do we hold the opinion that people can be property. No longer do we hold the opinion that women are the weaker sex. That the woman’s place is in the home. That men have to be the ‘breadwinner’. That boys are not allowed to cry. That girls have to like pink and boys blue. No longer do we have to hold the opinion that a loving union between same sex humans is in some way immoral. No longer do we have to hold the opinion that one human’s life is worth more than any others.
The world is changing, so why not wish to make it better.?
We all have thoughts and perspectives and opinions. Its simply part of the human condition as a socialized species. So In the interest of insight, this is where I will share my perspective and opinions.