“That’s racist!”

So the other day I saw a picture posted on Instagram of the packaging of an Egyptian chocolate brand which showed a milk chocolate bar with a cartoon black man and a white chocolate bar with a white man. This sparked complaints in the comment section with lots of people shouting racism with no logical justification, simply that the dark chocolate was allegedly being correlated with the skin colour of black people. How this is racist I don’t understand. If this is racist then you would expect white people to be complaining, too, no? Since they were also supposedly being associated with the colour of white chocolate. But this wasn’t the case as they were not complaining at all. When I joined the discussion and tried to get people to explain why the image is racist/offensive nobody could answer my questions directly and continued to simply state that it’s racist.

The reason I decided to write about this is because I see this issue of people shouting racism for uncalled for situations way too often and it’s really quite damaging as well as irritating. What it does is it reinforces pre-existing divisions and prejudices between whites and blacks and simply adds more unneeded conflict to the world. I see people shouting racism at the slightest glimpse of opportunity and it really needs to stop. No doubt that racism does exist, but we need to talk about it only at times that truly and evidently call for it, other than that, you are underlyingly victimising a whole group of people many of which live their lives having not experienced situations of racism at all.

Another example where people irrationally began pulling the racism card is the 2017 Grammy Awards. The Album of The Year award was to be given to one of Adele or Beyonce – two very popular talented candidates with popular albums. Adele was chosen as the winner of the award via fair and square conditions but still, people began pulling the racism card as the reason to why Beyonce didn’t win. People began claiming that, because Beyonce’s album encompassed issues regarding black people, that this is why she did not win the award. Why must people bring up these excuses whenever it suits them? Adele won fair and square given that her album, like Beyonce’s, was very good and popular.

One last thing I want to talk about is the way people are quick to complain about diversity issues within films/shows, with people saying things like “why do they all have to be white” or “why are there no black people in this” and the way film/show producers try extra hard to make sure there is race diversity amongst their cast to avoid criticism. For some situations, this is appropriate as people don’t feel considered or represented when the people they watch are all of the same race. However, other times, it is clear that producers feel unnecessarily pressured to include a black person, for example, just to cancel out criticism about lack of diversity, even at times when the film is traditionally supposed to represent only white people. But don’t get me wrong, diversity is a great thing and I love that it is considered, but if you’re going to try to show diversity then you should also include an Asian Westerner, too for example and not restrict your presentation of diversity to just African Westerners. Why are only blacks and whites considered? This kind of represents the way society sometimes tends to think – in black and white terms only. There are loads of other colours in between that should be looked at if you’re seeking to see or present the full picture.

Half-blind judgement

We all sometimes tend to judge things without knowing enough or having accurate enough information. We accept the information that is most presented to us and take this in as the truth, disregarding the possibility of inaccuracy or the fact that what is presented to us is usually only one side of the story. Mass media undoubtedly plays a huge part in this and the reality is that many news channels are skilled in manipulating information in a way that suits their agenda and will easily indoctrinate the minds of the masses. These are usually big news channels that everyone is used to, so top tip- use small news sources that are not as popular. There you’re more likely to find accurate information from frontline sources that no one wants heard.

But there’s a sad truth within our societies: there are people that see only what they want to see and hear only what they want to hear and will therefore use sources only from the perspective that they have settled into. These people accept solely information that is comfortable to their eyes and ears and existing mentalities; information which rarely dissents from expectations and the majority’s views. This way biased conclusions are made and people never see the full story because of their lack of research and openness to other sources of information.

This is kind of the same as when people judge others without having enough information. You may judge someone on one encounter or one aspect of their personality and take this as the full picture – for example, I’m a quiet person and most people simply see me as such, but the people that are close to me know that there is a lot more to my personality because they have a broader range of information. This greater information is what we all need to strive for in our everyday lives; it is too often that people simply accept what they see in front of them with no desire to learn more.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing about this is because I’ve had a lot of experience being in the minority position in terms of things like views on world affairs and I see how unheard we are. I see how little influence we have because of stronger forces in the majority making sure their self-serving agenda is fulfilled. So this is why we all need to research and question all the time. Be open to all sources and consider all sides and all possibilities. Make a greater effort to gain more information. Don’t simply accept, ask questions. Immunise yourself from the brainwashing forces of the media and be one more informed mind on earth.

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Let me wrap this up with a fact-filled quote from a fact-filled man;

Propaganda is most effective when our consent is engineered by those with a fine education – Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia — and with careers on the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post. These organisations are known as the liberal media. They present themselves as enlightened, progressive tribunes of the moral zeitgeist. They are anti-racist, pro-feminist and pro-LGBT. And they love war. While they speak up for feminism, they support rapacious wars that deny the rights of countless women, including the right to life.” ~ John Pilger

^ those right there are what you may call facts.

Tragedy of trading your authenticity for approval

This sabotaging trade deal of disregarding who we really are in our desire for approval from mainstream society is super prevalent among individuals of today’s society and in my eyes, appears much like an epidemic. A huge factor in this is the big increase in social media usage in recent years. Social media provides a platform for people to gain ideas on what most people like and dislike, their interests, what’s ‘normal’ and what isn’t and last but definitely not least, beauty ideals which tell people exactly how a perfectly attractive man or woman should look and be like. Social media therefore creates shared ideas on these different aspects and strips society of the individuality, rawness and unique qualities that each individual has the potential to offer to society. People hold back for fear of not being accepted or ridiculed for their ideas. We hold back because it’s not what we know society wants to see or hear so we simply don’t express it and instead express a persona that aligns with society’s expectations. This way society is devoid of genuine expression, of new ideas and new perspectives; ideas and perspectives that potentially hold the key to advancement and to greatness.

As history tells us, the great were always people who defied society, projected a new perspective into it and disregarded their fear of the consequences of their defiance. For example, Mahatma Ghandi who went as far as sacrificing his life through a hunger strike in his call for peace and fight against British imperialism, Rosa Parks who stood against racism by defying authority and refusing to sit at the back of the bus, and a final modern example – President Bashar Al Assad, who, despite mainstream media’s portrayal of him as a vicious dictator and the continuous baseless shunning by the vast majority of the world and powerful governments, remains perfectly sturdy and committed to protecting the citizens of his country, disregarding the opinions of others on him and continuing to do what is right. To be honest with you, I was hesitant to include that last example because of the controversy it carries, but I then thought to myself: why can others freely give their opinions (which of course align with the opinions of the majority) whilst I feel I must remain quiet due to my less popular perspective? Although political stances are not exactly measures of authenticity, the degree of commitment in expressing a different/minority view and ‘taking the road less taken’ is.

So, my point here is that as hard as you may feel it is to resist social pressures, whether this may be regarding your genuine feelings about certain topics, music taste, your genuine interests, the way you dress and a seemingly more recent phenomenon- how expensive your makeup is, within us all there is a sanctuary wherein our genuine self lives; this is when we are alone with our own thoughts, away from our phones where we are blinded by the opinions and lifestyles of others, and away from the expectations of family. If you one day decide to let free the contents of your sanctuary into the outside world, piece by piece and day by day, then, and only then, will you truly be living.