Recently I watched a film from an event called Europe on Screen. It was a film festival organized by European Union to introduce and showcase European films.
The film I watched was titled Breath of Freedom. It was a documentary film about how the African American soldiers were treated differently from their fellow white comrades during the World War Two, about the acceptance from people in Germany after Nazi was defeated, and about their struggle to obtain equality after going back to their own country (USA). The film ended by showing that their struggle finally gained good result, the African Americans also have the right to vote, they are not treated differently anymore by having to use different facilities from the white people and USA finally have the first non-white president.
Well, this world has many histories about segregating people based on their race, skin color, religion, etc. Certain groups of people think that they are more superior than others, think that they have the right suppress other people, think that they have special privileges over other groups, and so on. In modern days such actions are not really tolerated and not considered as something normal or common anymore. People can be easily called a racist for saying something or doing something that is considered offensive to people from different group (by their own standard of determining whether it is offensive or not). As much as people try to criticize this racism stuff, I think certain degree of racism still remain although not as harsh and pronounced as it was in the past; at least it still pertain in the society that I live in. I am often asked about the racial or religion group of the people I befriend.
“Do you have friends of your own racial group?”, “Who is this person? Who is that person? Which group do they belong? Are they from the same group as us or different?”, “Go here or go there and join the community and find some friends of your own group”
Is that really necessary? I understand that generally human feels more comfortable with people who are similar. People feel more easily connected with people who have similarities. People of the same culture or background might agree with you without having to cross the barrier of having different ways of thinking and having to try to view something from a different point of view. Indeed people with the same opinion or way of thinking will eventually form a culture or sub-culture, a community, etc. This generalizes individual people to be grouped into the same category by certain aspect similar between them. But as much as someone belongs to certain groups whether by choice or by birth, each person is also a unique individual and cannot be judged only based on the trait of the groups they belong to. Knowing someone of the same group with you doesn’t guarantee that you can get along well with that person and can trust that person fully just because of the similarity. Knowing someone from different groups also doesn’t guarantee that that person is not going to understand you or cause you any harm and cannot be trusted at all.
So, is this kind of paranoia toward people from different groups really necessary? Should we just hide in a shell forever feeding ourselves with fear, judgments and prejudices toward people?