Thinking and saying the same things, over and over again, creates beliefs. These beliefs, with passage of time, become ‘absolute’ truths. Yet these beliefs, in essence, are only unquestioned opinions. No belief is set in stone.
As a case in point, the term ‘coloured’ was officially defined by the South African government, from 1950 to 1991, to indicate a race of people who were non-white. The term ‘coloured’ thus came to be an accepted designation for dark skinned people, in other parts of the world as well.
Was this belief system ever questioned ? No …….. until , this poem, written by an African boy, was nominated as the UN poem for 2008.
When I born, I black.
When I grow up ,I black.
When I go in Sun, I black.
When I scared, I black.
When I sick, I black.
And when I die, Im still black.
And u white fella,
When u born, u pink.
When u grow up, u white.
When u go in sun, u red.
When u cold, u blue.
When u scared, u yellow.
When u sick, u green.
And when u die, u gray.
And u calling ME coloured ????
Bottomline : As humans we have a great capacity of rigidly sticking to beliefs. For thousands of years, we believed that the world was flat, until someone convinced us otherwise. What about our present beliefs …. That religion is ….. Women ought to …… People of that country are ….. As a parent my duty is …… It would therefore be prudent to pick up any random assumption and ask : Where has this assumption come from? What would happen if I let go of this old way of thinking? To conclude, an old adage comes to mind :
“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
Philosophy Bank starts 2013 by bringing to you the most popular posts of 2012. The post above was one of them.