Our differences can be put down to invisibility

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  • Difference maker: the late Shawn Crockwell (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Difference maker: the late Shawn Crockwell (File photograph by Akil Simmons)


A while ago, my spirit became weary as a thought crossed my mind that much of the efforts for the greater portion of my life to heal the divisions and to break down the walls that keep our society lingering in separation may have been like bashing one’s head against a brick wall, hoping it will crumble.

It’s not that we cannot ever find the way to get along as mutual societies; it’s that what we think of as voluntary bias, which at times is called bigotry, is a bit deeper — it’s an involuntary inability, which is as close as DNA, that prevents us understanding each other. Perhaps the appropriate term is cognisant bias.

On the flip side of this bias, in simple words, the term should be “invisibility”. We keep hearing, for example, that the One Bermuda Alliance was not listening or you may have heard from within the OBA persons such as the late Shawn Crockwell complaining they wouldn’t listen. Well, what about “couldn’t hear you because you were invisible”?

Women of every hue and colour should know what that means because too often they will share the same complaint. We can almost universally hear them saying, “I told him, but he wouldn’t listen to me because I’m a woman.”

How about, “he didn’t listen because you are invisible”? This is not a one-way street. Sadly, it goes both ways with all people behaving as hapless participants in this human saga.

Years and years of behaviour established patterns of countless generations creating attitudes so deep they form the basic make-up of a person. Male dominance produced an environment we may call chauvinistic where there are expectations built in and become in some cases the culture.

It is not just differences in racial attitudes; it is differences between men and women, adults and youth, business owners and employees, scientific minds and artistic minds, cultures, the list goes on.

In the political area, when you read the paper and see the feedback and comments to opinion pieces, the divide in the community becomes so patently clear. Through social media, you can get a live display of the two-way street, with live fire from either side.

It makes no difference where you are — America, Britain, Canada or Bermuda — conservative supporters are as far west as west can go and the liberal or labour is just as far east. It is truly sunrise to sunset with plenty of daylight between. No surprise there, but it becomes disturbing when we can find no bridge over troubled waters. When there is no unified field, the mote becomes so wide that society becomes apoplectic and unable to swim from side to side.

It is like two ships passing at night — we have to use horns and blinkers to avoid collisions. The divisions have succumbed to baser instincts. Even at levels of seeming co-operation, where you would think there is a successful melding, the same disease afflicts.

Historically, when human society is confronted with a cause, usually of crisis proportions, they are able to rise to another level of co-operation. Wars are great testimonies to that phenomenon; also natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

Then there are times when a great leader can identify a cause that resonates with our core humanity and is able to pull society together, mobilising them beyond their baser instincts to do something good for all of humanity.

Leaders of that magnanimity who can give their life for a noble cause do not become so by following low instincts, and the best of them are scorned and covered with scars.

It requires a deep, abiding faith and a tenacious spirit to deal with insults, setbacks, going against the grain and at times loneliness to find that place which brings humanity to a finer position.

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Published Mar 17, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 17, 2018 at 9:01 am)

Our differences can be put down to invisibility

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