A couple of weeks ago I was on the way home from work when I noticed this sign on the train.
Recently there has been a rash of racist and homophobic incidents reported on public transport here in Australia. Most of it is reported on social media and occasionally it makes it on to the nightly news. Racism and homophobia are nothing new and as we are seeing in France and Russia incidents based on ignorance and hate often increase around times when debate around human rights issues and equality are prominent in the public debate, people lash out or are incited by hate speech and religious dogma.
The opponents of equality and freedom often cite change as something to be feared. Fear is a powerful tool for control that has been employed for thousands of years. But more and more as the world becomes interconnected people are becoming increasingly fearless as the unfamiliar becomes familiar.
One of the greatest weapons we have against hate and fear and prejudice is our sense of global community. As we engage with each other more and more, as we make friends around the world, as we reach out to each other and as we travel we bring new experiences and new perspectives to each other.
So what does this mean for us? It means each day we need to go out and do unto others as you would be done by. It means that at the very grassroots levels we need to challenge ourselves to make friends and embrace the people we meet everyday. It means deleting the “no Asians” from our Grindr and taking the time to make conversation.
It’s quite a lot to be taking on isn’t it, or is it?
If we are going to cry out in indignation at the way our brothers and sisters are treated around the world then we had better start to pull our weight. Crying crocodile tears whilst continuing on as we have always done isn’t going to wash anymore.