There are so many fears in the world, so many unknowns. Fear of heights, of water, of change. But the greatest things most humans fear is change and differences. We see it written out in books and played out in the media. The fear of what we don’t know leads to misunderstandings and it brings about conflicts as a result of it.
We, at Global Peace Foundation believes that one of the main causes of the prejudice and discrimination we see in the world today is due to identity based conflicts. Ever too quickly, we judged others based on skin colour, race, nationality and ethnicity that we forget; our common humanity- that we are one human family.
The evening started with a theatrical impression using the song Thriller/Heads Will Roll, of how as children, we have set of stigma and identities imposed on us. The staff of Global Peace and a few Global Peace Volunteers, donned plain white masks for the first half of the performance. As the dance reached the climax of the song, Yin Yee, challenged Mooza, who played the role of the one who placed the identities on the performers, encouraging Mooza to strip off her mask like everyone else.
This signified that as we grow up and begin to understand how society functions, we remove such stigma and become the person we truly want to be. The performance came to a close and everyone was unmasked and it ended with loud cheers from the audience. With that, the Halloween event came to an official start;keeping the idea of addressing the reason behind identity-based conflicts, Global Peace planned the night out that would allow the participants to understand themselves a little better
We created a safe space for open discussions. Many shared their experience where then asked thought provoking questions like:
“Did you allow that moment of discrimination against you become something you kept in mind?”
“Did your experience make you hate or dislike that particular group the person was from?”
Most answered negatively the questions because they couldn’t hate an entire race and ethnicity based off one person. In order to create a deeper understanding to his, participants are to write stereotypes placed on them on a whiteboard for a photoshoot, the key is never to be drowned by such stigma.
On the flip side, there was a Prejudice Anonymous box which allowed participants to share moments where they felt or acted out against someone based on stereotypes. Although it is an anonymous confession, many struggled when penning down their acts of prejudice in the past. It was a tough process because it is only natural for humans to hide and disacknowledge our misbehaviours.
Many may not believe in the spiritual notions behind tarot readings, but the cards serve as a guide about yourself. Most of the participants that went through it came out startled and amazed at how accurate the cards were about their lives and behaviours. Some even said that it made them reconsider their past actions because they had a new understanding about themselves.
The night ended with a group photo screaming “We Are One!” in grayscale to show that we are one human family despite our differences. Fearing what you don’t know can lead to severe back lashing, take a step back and open your heart, you will see that as different as we are, we are a common human race who are capable of love and understanding.
Someone once said, “Do not allow your wounds to turn you into someone you are not,”
I think this rings true when it comes to identity-based conflicts. This event was done to show that as much as we are all victims of prejudice and discrimination, we are also very much instigators of it who contributes to the vicious cycle of prejudice. We need to acknowledge it and let go of it in order to learn from it. Do not allow past experiences make you a person you are not. Be the best of who you can be.