Racism, which breeds on ignorance and fear, seems to be spreading with a rapidity that is leaving ordinary citizens bewildered and overwhelmed.
In incident after incident, the authorities stand idle, while the hatred breeds further hatred. The poison is everywhere and seems to be rising towards a horrible crescendo. Fighting it seems an almost impossible task, the hydra keeps growing new heads.
If the state is idle, action needs to be taken at the community level, the Norwegian campaign to fight racism, with a cup of tea offers some good ideas. (watch the video clip here)
The root cause of racism is a lack of understanding; the inability to see the 'Other' as an ordinary human. The 'Other' looks funny, acts funny and talks funny. When people spread false or exaggerated stories the word 'dangerous' is imprinted in peoples minds, substituting for 'funny'. These odd fellows are no longer funny, they become threatening, intimidating, dangerous people.
The solution is to promote informal dialogue; talking leads to understanding, with understanding, hatred begins to seem absurd. Here, we can try to start this on a community level; the approaching holiday season affords a good opportunity.
Small community gatherings, where people can talk and perhaps understand that they are not so different from one another would be worth trying. This Avurudu season, lets invite a few neighbours from other communities over for tea.