Well, today is Human Rights Day, as an activist, I believe it is important to have a voice on such an important day.

So last Sunday I was on my way to visit a friend on campus. The day was cool and I woke up feeling rather pretty that day, so I put on a cute little romper, (It wan’t too short, and exposed nothing) let down my hair and wore matching simple jewelry. In my estimation, I looked gorgeous and judging from the number of cat calls I got while walking to get the bus… that notion was cemented.

So, as luck would have it I got a JUTC bus as I reached the bus stop and looked around for a seat. I saw one right beside a very Christian Looking lady and sat. Being raised in rural Jamaica by very strict parents, I am very well mannered, so I told the lady good morning. She turned around, but it wasn’t exactly the response I was expecting. She did not return my greeting but instead looked me up and down and turned her head to the window. Occasionally she would glance at me with a look of disdain but for the most part craned her neck to the window. She was so close to the window that I prayed that the driver didn’t make any sudden stops, or else a nice “coco” would have been her gift that morning. I also worried for her sternomastoid muscles, as I thought she was going to have a permanent “crick neck”. A group of ladies in white church clothes and big hats came on the bus, singing and saying words of praise in loud tones. I wondered if a bus preaching session was about to take place at that moment but then I remembered those were banned. It was at that point that the lady beside me turned around and smiled and muttered something about lovely Christian people going to church on a Sunday.

I began to wonder and I started texting my friend and she said to me that the lady thinks I’m heathen, since I’m wearing shorts on the Lord’s Day. I giggled to myself and she turned around with an even grumpier look. I was happy to know her neck was still mobile, but wasn’t particularly appreciative of the looks she directed towards me. The bus stopped again and a rather confident and flamboyant middle aged man came on the bus. He had one large gold earring in one ear and turned around boldly with a fierce twirl, “Good morning passengers!” He smiled after he greeted the bus audience and took his seat right in front of the lady beside me!

She gave out a loud sigh which kinda sounded like a groan and the man turned around. She pressed the buzzer instantly and came off at the next bus stop. I texted my friend and she laughed, saying that the lady came off at the wrong stop because she had too much of us heathen people.

Whatever this woman’s reasons were, she clearly wasn’t having a good day and I clearly wasn’t her cup of tea. Sometimes we meet someone and it’s dislike at first sight or we try to rationalize our hostility towards them using the “Spirit Tek Theory” (our hypothesis that we generate to tolerate individuals based on certain traits they possess). It’s sad how distorted perception can be, as only if this lady knew I had gotten out my bed for early morning Mass at 7 almost every Sunday Morning and was very Godly.

Basically it is about perception. This topic covers everything from vision to tolerance. Social Psychologist Leon Festinger spoke about this in his Social Comparison Theory. 

This has been going on since the Ice Age!!

There are 5 points I saw and I want to link them to a movie a watched yesterday.

  1. People Judge Others to Evaluate Themselves- This is very common. When Diego decided to join the pack, he was very critical of all the members. He compared them to his pack and kept disrespecting what they had. Oftentimes, this is just a front, as he was using them to see his strengths and his weaknesses. When he found his strengths lacking, his self esteem and self concept were affected, so he disrespected them to feel better about himself.
  2. Actions Are Often Based On Thoughts, Not Facts-  Manny was very unhappy for the most part of the movie as the humans had killed his wife and child all because they thought Woolly Mammoths were dangerous. They thought that these huge creatures would rob them of their food source (which was usually meat) which was far from the truth, since the creatures were herbivores. Hasty decisions based on what we feel can be detrimental and have long term effects. 
  3. Those Who Know Better Should Do Better- Even though the humans had taken his family, Manny realized that it was through ignorance and forgave them so he could move on. He knew what it was like losing a child, so when he found the human baby, he protected it with his life even conquering his fears in the process. Manny knew tigers weren’t to be trusted but he gave Diego a chance to prove himself and not judge him based on others. Manny knew what it felt like to be ridiculed so he was the most gentle with Sid, even though he was a handful.
  4. Hate, Slander, Selfishness and Intolerance Lead to Death- The movie in a very subtle way shows us how when we allow negative and impulsive thinking to rule our lives how dangerous it could be. The Dodo birds were used to illustrate this. They were always fighting and it was while doing this most of them died. They were mean, they refused to share one watermelon (which was essential to survival) and fought til they lost all they had, including  the last female. The hate and negativity was so strong that they destroyed each other completely without realizing.
  5. Don’t Fight Fire With Fire- When Manny decided to return the human baby, he was greeted with spears, weapons anger and dogs. Instead, he remained calm and took away the spear from his immediate threat. It was then, that the human retreated and he returned the infant. Diego even deceived them on the journey, sending them into an ambush. When we treat our persecutors well it helps us. We have a free conscience and theirs are bothered, oftentimes bringing them to a place where they confess their actions and  start to treat us well. Though this result takes  really long at times, resisting and fighting with fire cements the wrong ideas and negatives they may have believed about us and encourages them to be mean to us.

It was near the end that Sid said, “I don’t know about you guys, but we are the weirdest herd I’ve ever seen!”. They may be the weirdest, but they were definitely one of the strongest. They represented the new age and because of their tolerance, was the only herd who made it through the entire Ice Age.  

They had Diego for speed and to do tracking, Sid for creativity, Manny for strength and to maintain order….

Just think about it….. When we have tolerance and respect for each other and observe their basic human rights, it enables us to be stronger and more productive as a race.

Just think about it….If primitive animals could do it.. So can we!