Who are Minorities?

Every human belongs to one minority or another, somehow, whether they know it or not. In any statistic, you can be a lonely dot located at the end of a bell curve, or a short column standing among giants. You belong to a minority, for a disease/belief/behavior/abnormality ... you have, an opinion or a secret you hide, or just for the "making" of you that's unlike anyone else's.

It's vital to learn this fact at an early age, to avoid the evils of discrimination that follow, many unnecessarily and unjustly suffer, and to fight or refine such animal instinct of tribalism we are unfortunately born with—where, as in the jungle, power is measured by numbers, by quantity not quality.

Back in the wild, members of a tribe would savagely attack a single individual merely for being alone and different from the rest of members, the majority, whether it's an outsider they don't know, or an insider showing signs of difference they don't know either. According to mother nature, he/she is unfit, not worthy of staying and being a tribe member.

If you are white among blacks, or black among whites; Christian among Muslims, or Muslim among Christians; if you are silent when others talk; or crying for help, when no one listens; if you disagree with the majority, however, whenever, on whatever ... you are always the odd one out, the black sheep no one wants. Then you may realize you've belonged to a minority all the while, and all your life, which puts you in a weak, susceptible, pitiful position you have to live with, however strong you thought you were, or protected by fellow tribe members.

Those who discriminate against others can be themselves discriminated against, once they leave their upper-hand majority comfort zone and move to a vulnerable minority one, because no one lives alone and no one is a majority-only or a minority-only.


Why Helping Minorities

Our motives for helping minorities are many, although not all such motives lead to real help:

  • Pressure: by law, society, or religion.
  • Guilt: inside pressure by one's conscience.
  • Fear to suffer like them somehow in the future, or at present since we may already belong to another different minority. So we prepare ourselves for future changes or similar present treatment by society.
  • Sympathy: a genetic response to the sight of weak/inferior/lonely creatures, as we feel toward a little child/animal.
  • Curiosity about different people.
  • Envy: We envy them the survival skills they may develop to cope with life, and the different treatment/benefits they get from people/government.
  • Mutual Interest: We help them as long as they can help us.

It's better now than before, as people began to realize their differences and accept them, to keep the wheel of civilization turning. It's been a long path humanity took, for every human to gain their well-deserved rights (just coming to life gives you those rights).

However, it's a step forward to have a minority recognized by the majority; but, it's another step when such minority and others can actually participate in shaping society and live in harmony, together with the majority, not in isolation.

It's easy to bridge the physical gap between us and others, by allowing them, for a start, more presence, visibility, and the simple right to say "we are here." Yet the gap is more mental than physical, social or emotional, and it won't be bridged with one party always believing to be superior to the other, however sympathetic they are.

Sympathy alone won't suffice to support, engage and really benefit from those who are different (let alone inferior, in our opinions). Sympathy is only a desire to imagine oneself in someone else's place: a short temporary trip we enjoy before we go back to our real self again. Thus it's unwise to found a society on a weak volatile motive, such as sympathy, for lasting relationships between its members.

On the other hand, mutual interest has always been the best momentum for keeping the bonds between all living organisms strong, more symbiotic than sympathetic. Even non-living objects, from electrons to galaxies, depend on "mutual energy" to remain stable, by force of gravity that controls all particles of the universe and decides the strength, behavior and duration of every bond.

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Consider people with disabilities for instance. What could be "interesting" about being disabled: deaf, blind, handicapped ... that we can benefit from?

We and the disabled cannot be equal unless we value their disability as a form of needed diversity. This can only be when we reach a point, midway between not wishing to be disabled, and not panicking about being so ourselves. (Wishing disability as such is an already known mental disorder with different forms, whose patients take their disguised self-abuse to an extreme.) In order to value a disability, one needs to learn what it really disables them from doing, and, on the other hand, what it enables them to do. However, it's the latter that people are usually ignorant about, needing more light to shed on.

Although it's both interesting and enlightening to find answers to those questions, just like sympathy, curiosity is not enough motive to learn about other people's life. More compelling is our fear of becoming like them someday, somehow, by aging, or accidents that can easily happen and dramatically change one's life. Being prepared for this is only to secure a happy, less miserable future we can cope with, just like any other mishap in life we try to avoid or to accept: diseases, thefts, fire, etc. It's our civilized way of responding to our natural self-preservation instinct. 

However, no matter how strong our fear of mishaps is, it's still a negative motive or aversive motivation: a desire of something not to happen, by avoiding it, mostly with reluctance (like those who exercise to avoid health problems, not for the love of sport). A real "positive" motivation would be envy, or even admiration. Sometimes, we envy the deaf their immunity from noise and disturbance that many of us suffer; we envy the blind for finding their way easily in dark places (or when electricity goes out); we envy those who can't move for being less exposed to road accidents and outdoor infections, and for appreciating simple indoor pleasures and activities we wish to have time, mood and patience for, etc.

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Minorities unfairly take second, third, fourth ... roles to play that they don't deserve. They even harm themselves to find a place in society, and risk their life to please the majority and let them live.

Consider naturally obese people, i.e. those with slower metabolism and insatiable fat cells:

Sadly, many obese chefs, actors and just friendly plump-cheeked people — like that brilliant chubby lady who cooks to please us with her delicious recipes, or that heavyset comedian entertaining us with his jokes, who also dies younger than the rest of us — will play the role assigned to them by the majority, to make up for society's physical standards of accepted looks they failed to meet, and qualities they unfortunately lack. They may spend their whole life atoning for the body they never chose, playing the good-natured funny jester they must always be.

How cruel the majority in every society always is, and how desperately the minority tries to appease them, to avoid discrimination! While those in the majority are taking the leading roles deciding the fate of everyone else, the unfortunate others will accept their humble lot: the shy turn into brainy nerds, the ugly become comedians, blacks are singers and entertainers (even when they work in politics), gays are artists and hair-dressers, midgets (poor little things) cannot be but jesters … and above all, women, half of society, are the prehistoric breeders, if they try to have men's positions (hence becoming a female minority among the male majority).

Deep inside all these groups, many wish they had chosen a different path in life instead of that charted to them by the unworthy leading majority. They accept their fate, even love it, because they have to ... to survive.


Tribal Instinct

Global Citizenship