Transcend your race
19th Jul 20166m49s
- Don't be defined by your race. Throughout my life I've had people say racist things to me. I've been treated differently because of my race, because of the way I look. I've been treated badly because of the way I look and I've been positively because of the way I look compared to other people. And, I used to struggle with this because I wasn't naturally the strongest person, I mean the person with the inner-strength to resist other people saying nasty things to me. Usually I just not really say anything back. I'd just take it on the chin and move on. But it would affect me deep inside. Inside, later on, maybe even days later I'd be thinking about it. I'd be asking myself, "Why didn't I say something? "Why didn't I fight back more?" And then on a general level, I would think about the world around me and I think isn't it unfair that I get treated this way whereas other people don't? When I think about it now after all the experiences I've been through, the people I've met, the things I've learned. I realize that, you can't really change the world when it comes to things like this, you can try, you can go out there and engender more love between people and try and persuade people to love each other more, to see beyond racial disparities, to see beyond racial differences, and treat each other as human beings. But you can't expect that, you can't expect that people will heed your message. And indeed, the most empowering way to live your life, is to live it in such a way that you don't need people to change their minds about this. So what do I mean by this? You have to be the strongest version of yourself. You have to be the best version of yourself. You have to be the best that you can be because even if somebody else doesn't like you, for whatever reason, maybe it's just the way you look, the way you talk, where you're from, something you've said. At the very least, you could still command respect from that person. You can demand respect from people who don't like you. If someone's racist towards you, if someone says something nasty to you, to go and ask that person, to request from them that they treat you with more respect, it's probably gonna fall on deaf ears. But you can command their respect, even if they don't think you're anything much, they don't think much of you. They can still feel that you've achieved something or that the kind of person you are is significant enough to warrant respect of some sort. So what I mean is someone may be my enemy but they could still respect me if I'm someone worthy of respect. I mean you can respect your enemy, you can respect their talents, their abilities, their skills, even if you disagree with them in something, even if you hate them. Obviously this isn't the ideal world, in an ideal world we'd all just love each other a lot more, we'd all be giving lots more hugs to each other and what not. But we don't live in an ideal world and like I said, people don't change so easily. People usually have to change from within when it comes to matters like this. But you can do, you can control your own thoughts. You can change yourself. And you can become the best that you can be and command respect from other people. And that way, at least in your own mind, you can transcend your race. You might not transcend your race in other people's minds, they might still see you just as the way they've always seen you. But at least you don't feel identified purely by your race just because of the things they say to you. And that's quite powerful. And that is achievable, that's achievable by everybody. And on the flip side, I mean racism affects so many people, it affects all of us. And it's easy to feel hatred and anger towards people who're being racist to you. You wanna get them back, you wanna stand up for yourself, you wanna fight back. And I think at times if someone is attacking you, you have to fight back, I'd fight back. But I don't want to do is then spend the rest of my time afterwards, the rest of my life, feeling anger, feeling hatred towards people because that's just gonna make me miserable, that's gonna make me unhappy. "Oh why, oh why is the world like this?" Yeah, it sucks, it's unfair, it shouldn't be this way. But it is what it is. How can I handle this and live a fulfilling life myself? By being more loving as a person. Other people may be bigoted, other people may be racist, other people may discriminate against me or discriminate against other people for very superficial reasons. But I don't have to do that, I can set myself a higher standard. And by setting the higher standard of love, of learning to love people, despite feeling that they're not worthy of love. I'm not talking about turning the other cheek like Jesus said, I'm talking about standing up for yourself, defending yourself, standing your ground but at the same time, not allowing negative thoughts about people to linger in your mind once the situation's been handled. And if you think about it, if we really go beyond racism, if we really want to go beyond bigotry and prejudice and discrimination. We have to become loving people, we have to be loving towards each other. And there's a quote by Gandhi which gets used enormously and I'll use it here which is, "You have to be the change you want to see in the world." So if I want the world to change and become more loving then I have to become more loving, I can't be a racist, I can't be bigoted, I can't discriminate people for superficial reasons like that. I have to take the first step. And that doesn't mean that other people will then take that step too, I can't go with that expectation. In fact, it doesn't matter what steps other people take. If I can take that step then at least I can become a better person. And I can become a more loving person and I can become a happier person. And at the same time I can transcend my racial identity in my mind by becoming the best that I can be in every area of my life and command respect from other people because of that. Then at least my life can be great. And maybe someone else can learn from the example that I've set, maybe. But I don't need them to.