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Imagine fear, then change

Imagine living in fear of your neighbours, people you thought were your friends or people who used to greet you with a friendly smile every day.

One minute you exchanged pleasantries. The next, the police had to escort you out of your house and community. The reason: You are being stereotyped.

Does it not make you furious when you hear “all blacks are the same”, “all whites are the same”, “all coloureds are the same” or “all Indians are the same”?

Is it not hurtful when you walk into a shop and employees follow you around just because their suspicions are raised based on your ethnicity? Is it not infuriating when they think you are a murderer or robber just because of the colour of your skin? How would you feel if your child, who had just matriculated, graduated or relocated to another town, lived in fear?

Let us suppose someone from your community has committed a heinous act, but now your child has to live in fear because he and the suspect come from the same place.

Will you be terrified because you cannot explain to everyone that your child is not a criminal?

There is nothing you can do when they come to set the house on fire. Your hands are tied when your child must run and hide.

Is this not a terrifying thought?

In the wake of the most recent wave of anti-foreigner violence in the Northern Cape, through which an entire nationality, ethnicity or race is being targeted and held responsible for the act of one or a few – would you allow this violent behaviour if it were your family?

Why is it that when “your people” are in danger, you stand up for them? Why can you not put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel their pain?

Neuroscientist and bestselling author Abhijit Naskar’s words are so true: “To see people as more important than traditions, beliefs and disbeliefs is what turns an animal into a human.”

MyStem: Het jy meer op die hart?

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