I grew up in a small village. Now, this village still is a small village and has slightly more than 3000 inhabitants. A lot of things have changed in the world and so many things have changed for me. While the village has also changed a bit, some people there haven’t. I mean young people who are supposedly modern and open for the world. But, sadly that is not the reality. I saw young people I went to school with a few days back and they did not seem to be grown-ups at all. They were the same childish, narrow-minded people they were 5 years ago. Why is that? In the meantime, I have worked with many different people, seen many different countries and learned things about many cultures in the world. I claim to be a grown-up now, who is open-minded. I am not the only one who has seen various parts of the world, many have but I’m interested in that small portion of the village which has not. Why are they the way they are? No matter if they are 20 or 30 years old. I’m not offending people’s intelligence or education here, it’s something entirely different. I’m wondering about it, nothing offending, right?
To get back to the narrow-minded part I have expressed above. Of course you can’t take it as a rule that young pupils are narrow-minded or anything. But quite a few are which is usual and not bad. I mean, first you get to know yourself. Afterwards you start becoming a part of a community. And there is quite a chance that you will spend your time with people with the same background and interests. What I want so say is, we don’t like anything that’s different, and at least this is the case at first. By the time we turn twenty or so, however, we should have let that barrier behind us and be open for all kinds of things and all sorts of people.
But what makes some people dropping this barrier? When you are little you ask why people look differently than you, no matter what ethnic group you belong to. Later you ask why other people’s names sound so strange and even later you ask why they say things that are not congruent to the view you were taught. I learned to accept views from others. I am not judging people by anything but what they do. I try to be free of prejudgements as good as I can. People I know very well are prejudiced and never stop to be. I’m not a saint, but I try to do my best.
After I gave this quite some thought I came to the following conclusion. People that stay at one place for their entire life cannot be anything else but judgemental. I am apologizing if someone feels offended since there are exceptions to everything. Still, referring to those I talked about at the beginning who are people who went to school in a village, they learned their profession in the same village and work at the exact same village for the rest of their days. Well, I can’t see how this could turn out any differently than to be narrow-minded to some degree.
On the other hand I know people who travelled the world and are very open-minded. But it doesn’t matter if you travel the entire world or just go for holidays in the South regularly. It seems to be highly recommendable to visit other countries and discover cultures in order to broaden your view on things. Observe and respect other traditions and bear in mind that people in a foreign country value them just as you do yours. Numerous women and men with who I had the pleasure to talk with about topics like racism, tolerance and such were not disrespectful but understood problems and conflicts very good. Thanks to those people’s time they spent with people who do not live in the village (the village becomes more and more a metaphor (and yes, I really should become a rapper)) they see why people act differently. Thus, it enables those open-minded people to find resolutions.
No one is born open-minded or narrow-minded. It’s how society shapes us and more importantly how much of a risk we dare to take and visit regions beyond the village. Once the border is crossed a new world of beautiful variety offered in an ocean of cultures and peoples are ready to be explored. A journey that enriches mind and soul can be taken by all of us; the question is only if we want to.
…see…no reason to be afraid