Fear: The Main Ingredient in Cultural Intolerance

An audio and video podcast of this post will be released on 9/29/2016

I truly believe every single person on Earth has the ability to show compassion towards their fellow human beings regardless of the many countless obstacles. In my podcast, Four Seas One Family, I frantically try to construct cultural bridges to shorten the distance between common beliefs and mutual concerns.

Global events displayed daily on our televisions, read in newspapers and on-line causes us to develop a pessimistic view of the world. The large numbers of innocent people suffering and dying for causes they may not even care about or understand casts a negative view of the world that is being passed on to our children and future generations. This, in turn, is causing them to become suspicious, lose faith, feel insecure and, in the end, hopeless about their future.

The side-effects of these feelings, situations and unfortunate events is a state of heightened fear that becomes multiplied over time. This constant state of fear affects everyone regardless of their location or social political status. Fear has taken on the effects of a wide spread disease and effects us all on multiple levels that aren't easy to detect. The physiological signs of fear can be quickly and easily observed within our communities. However, the signs of psychological fear isn't that easily detected and monitored. Today, it is easily seen that fear is a leading stimulus in the creation of many national policies and practices. And sadly, many of these policies and practices are causing harm to people who don't possess financial and political power. Many of these policies discriminate against people of color, different political ideologies, sexual orientation and religious views. Fear is not benign.

Fears are also directly responsible for the rise of social evangelists and politicians who propagate these fears to those who feel that they are losing control of their political power, wealth, social status and freedoms. So, in an attempt to protect their way of life, those with the power and wealth that harbor these fears look for and develop legislative means to protect themselves from, what they perceive as, the types of people threatening their (social, political, religious and financial) existence. Rules and regulations are made and amended to separate themselves at all levels from the offending group or groups.

Many of you may think that I'm only talking about the recent events now taking place in the United States or other Western nations. On the contrary, I want it to also be known that these same types of social suppressions can be observed in nations that have lesser global political and financial influences. Even in nations like these, national and local law enforcement agencies are given the powers to suppress opposition by threatening, incarcerating, physically punishing and, in some cases, killing those who refuse to abide by the limitations placed upon them or just about anyone who is perceived as a threat to the privileged ruling class.

Believe me when I say that I’ve been promoting the expat experience as a way to share, celebrate and benefit from the unique differences and commonalities of the many cultures of the world. By inviting people to come on the podcast and share their overseas experiences, other people from different parts of the world looking to experience life abroad may find a reason to tune in and learn that there isn't always a reason to challenge differences. I hope that they become curious about seeing other parts of the world and look forward to experiencing different cultures and learning other languages and be exposed to people who have different backgrounds, beliefs, politics and religions.

I do this podcast with the hope that by giving people a bit of audio exposure to the experiences of other people who have lived in difference parts of the world and within different cultures that they themselves would desire to make plans to explore similar paths. This would lower the "fear factor" that have developed and extinguish misunderstandings before they set in and become a problem. It is a fact that when people experience life and living outside their home nation they develop a more global understanding of the world because they can at a personal level understand that we all have more in common than we think. Collectively, people need to accept differences for what they simply are instead of seeing differences as attacks on everything they feel they must protect at all costs.

Now, let's have a wake up moment. It may sound depressing but let's be real. Differences do exist between people and let's face it that some people will never be able to learn to or accept living peacefully with others. Some will even try to cause harm to those who aren't like them or hold their personal beliefs and this is unfortunate. The goal should be to foster a course of understanding and a line of communication with respect. There are many things that prevent people from getting along and things like greed and ideology can get in the way. Sure, there are people (from all walks of life and cultures) who want to purposely cause harm and install reasons to fear and hate another group of people. They want to keep people from different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures separated so they can't find a common ground of communication, but thankfully they aren't in the majority. The truth is, most people would rather live in peace.

However, today I would like to make a comparison between a few events that have taken place in the United States and in Great Britain.
Both nations are going through a systematic and problematic crisis that is causing serious conflicts among it's citizens. Also, and unfortunately, both nations have a long history of issues related to the human rights of minorities within their borders. In the US, the numbers of African Americans dying at the hands of the police, who are sworn to serve and protect American citizens, has sky rocketed in numbers beyond recent memory.

Both the police and the citizens are afraid and this is an obstacle for open and honest discussions between the two. The US has been the world leader in many aspects of living standards. However, today because of the relatively easy access to guns, the US has become a leader in mass public shootings by criminals and the mentally unsound.

At times it appears that there is an international gag order placed on open discussion of certain issues and this is the same as placing your head in a hole in the ground.

Fear and prejudices can even be found in financial policies and practices that some have towards members of minority communities that are seen as a threat to the financially connected and politically empowered.

The U.S. and the U.K. aren't the only nations that are displaying signs of intolerance within their borders. Nations like Brazil and India, nations that aren't often a headliner in western main stream media, are also nations facing incidents of intolerance. People are being killed in these nations for having a different sexual orientation and more women are reporting being raped at alarming levels and, in some cases, just disappearing.

My little podcasting platform will not change the world on a major level but it can help create some dialog and raise awareness that we all have to face in our "home nations". I also hope that fellow expats bring some of their experiences back home to share and maybe at lease some people we interact with will try to see our differences as an opportunity to learn more about one another.