Since my childhood I have been a huge Star Trek fan and that hasn’t changed to this day (even my cat is called Mr. Spock). I grew up in an international environment and I never much cared where people come from, what they look like, what God they believe in or what their sexual preferences are.
Even if I am a very complicated person, in one sense I am very very simple. For me there are three types of people:
- the ones I like
- the ones I do not like
- the ones I tolerate
I am not saying I am free of prejudice – I don’t believe anyone really is – but I don’t label people. So why am writing about this?
In my world – some call it naive, others downright stupid – we don’t put labels on people. In Star Trek (thank you Gene Roddenberry) mankind has actually evolved and people (or aliens) are not judged by their appearance, beliefs etc. but by who they really are, by their unique abilities and character.
So often I see people even label themselves, especially in situations where it is uncalled for. A dear friend of mine mentioned at the end of his job interview that he is gay, hoping this would not pose a problem.
It surprised me and made me somewhat sad because he obviously felt the need to justify himself and justify who he is and reveal his sexual preferences in a job interview. His new employer thankfully did not care but it scared me that even in 2020 a gay man has to fear a disadvantage for his sexuality (which certainly has nothing to do with his qualifications). To be honest, I have never considered mentioning in a job interview (or any kind of conversation): “Just so you know, I am hoplessly heterosexual and I hope that is not a problem.”
Don’t misunderstand me, I know these problems are absolutely real (I am not that naive). Just one of many examples: I once met the youngest Professor for ENT-medicine in Europe. He was of Iranian descent (which you could see) and everytime he travelled, (especially to the US) he knew he had to be at the airport an hour or two earlier than other people as he was always pulled out and got the full monty at the security check. This man was invited by the leading medical institutions worldwide to speak and went through the same ordeal every time despite a German passport.
Gene Roddenberry did something absolutely revolutionary and unheard of when the series Star Trek aired in 1966. Of course the captain was a white male (William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk), the science officer was an alien (unforgotten Leonard Nimoy as the Vulcan Mr. Spock), a Russian, a Japanese and a black woman, all on the bridge together. It may not seem like much today (although considering that mankind struggles with learning) but in 1966 it was brave, it was new! There is one episode in which the white Captain kisses the black Luitenant Uhura and this episode was banned in the US for a long time (I guess that was a little too brave).
My daughter is technically a mixed race child (ok, she will turn 21 in a few days and would probably not like being called a child anymore) but I have never seen her like that or even given it any thought, except for once… When she was a baby I went swimming with her and a woman approached me and wanted to ask me something. As I am a polite person I told her to ask away. I could tell she was feeling uncomfortable and kept looking at my daughter. Finally she said that she and her husband were considering to also adopt a brown baby (her words not mine) and if I had experienced a lot prejudice and problems because my daughter was different. I was confused at first and asked how my child was different from others making the poor woman even more uncomfortable. She was stuttering and when I told her that my child is
a. not adopted – that was a real shock to her
b. beautiful and very different from other children simply because she is MY daughter
My recommendation to this woman was, and I know it was not very nice but I meant it, to wait a little longer and try and get a pretty white baby to adopt. She was labeling her child even before she had it.
Sadly I believe that as long as we put labels on people for their colour of skin, beliefs, sexuality etc. and as long as people put these lables on themselves to victimize themselves and expect special treatment, we will never ovecome prejudice or racism.
In my Utopia there are no more labels and people are people and people love people. I may dream… and I do want to believe that mankind can evolve (eventually)…
If you want to know what I mean, perhaps just start to watch Star Trek and you will not only be entertained, you might be surprised what you can learn from an old televsion series…
LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!