Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On Prejudice and Fear

When you look at this, what do you see?

In Tibetan Buddhist mythology, this is Yama, the lord of the underworld, death personified, who holds the wheel of life in his hands. Despite his appearance, Yama is not evil. He is a wrathful creature devoted to protecting Buddhism and Buddhists.
What is more frightening for you than the Death? Is it the culture or the religion you don't know? I have met people who won't even look at a picture like this because they believe it to be pure evil. Although we may be frightened of death, it is not evil, it is merely inevitable.
In my opinion, the culture one comes from, or a person's religion is far less important than their truthfulness, bravery, and the quality of their actions. But this appears not to be true for some. There are people willing to kill to defend their beliefs in the superiority of their particular group.
In the past couple of days I saw, at a local grocery store, a picture of a black person on a work related poster. Pins were pushed into the eyes and neck and arms. No other pictures were disfigured in this way. I removed the offending pins. Today, I was at a local music store. There was a picture of a black couple promoting couple therapy and family unity. Someone had again stabbed the picture of the black couple all over with a pin. Again, no other pictures of white people were marred.
I recently read a sign, a bumper sticker, that said, "Pacifism is a luxury paid in the blood of warriors." But I disagree, there is nothing more courageous than choosing peace in the face of weapons. Peace is the way, not just the goal. Imagine the courage that it would have taken for that vandalizer to engage in conversation with and learn about black people face to face.
For those of you raised in a black family it doesn't sound like much, but for those raised in a culture of fear it means a great deal. Now substitute black for any group you fear!


  1. Dear Butternut Squash,

    Thanks for following my blog. I like yours. It is different and has special taste.

    I hope that peace goes all the way and cover earth. I hope also that people become more open minded and understand that it is not about skin color, religion, ethnicity, language
    or whatever. It is about respect, spirit, work, soul and heart.

  2. Actually ... I am not afraid of death itself, though I'm scared sh**less about the last little bits of life. I've been with a number of people at the moment of death and I can say without exception that after they pass, a beautiful feeling enters the room. It must be an amazing experience.

    Don't want to rush into it, though!

  3. I agree with Reya. I feel sorry for the person putting the pins in the pictures. Karma cannot be circumvented.

  4. I love the brass things - really cool.

  5. Hi

    I really like your blog too......... can't believe how people can be so mean like sticking pins... I grew up in a mixed community and there wasnt anything like that... I really have alot of hope and faith in our younger people ......