You were not born with hatred, but with curiosity.
You were born with an intense thirst for knowing, even if you didn’t know that.
Children are little students of life. They don’t have a pen and paper ready but they make notes in their minds as they crawl, walk, and run; entranced by everyone and everything. The first dandelion they hold is the sun in their hands. They stand at a mountain’s peak every time their wobbly legs hold them upright.
We don’t know about hatred until we are taught. This raw, horrible feeling that riddles your emotions and clouds your judgement. Making you less human, perhaps.
There are people who have been taught to hate others. To hate a certain group of people, just for being different. But that ‘different’ is what allows us to grow. It’s what children need to learn; anything different is a new universe opened to them. But there are people who will continue to hate others because of their difference. And when the seed of hatred grows within them, they water it with malice. It takes over their limbs and lungs.
They breathe with venom. Can’t go without the spite.
Does making someone else feel disgusting, make you feel better? Do you feed off their tears? Do your ugly words taste like honey to you?
Because somehow constantly telling yourself the lies made them the truth, and you’re blinded by your truth. But really, deep inside, you let your curiosity wither. You let the hate grow.
Do you fear the colour of his skin, or the strange accent traced in her speech? Do you hate the scarf on her head, or his language that you don’t understand?
But what would have happened if you called out a question instead of an insult? What if you asked him—hey, that’s a lovely accent you have. Where you from?
What’s your name? That’s a cool name, what does it mean?
Your clothes are nice, is it from your culture?
Children rely on that curiosity to discover the world. They are explorers of the Strange. Adventurers in the Mysterious. They ask questions, perhaps one too many at times. But that’s how they learn. To learn is to be human.
And we, as shameful adults, decide that asking questions makes us feel stupid. We feel defeated by our innate ignorance. By denying our natural curiosity—the thing that challenged us and let us grow—we turned to fear the unknown. As we feared that which is strange, we instinctively want to lash out at it. To hurt it. To put it away somewhere so that it doesn’t affect our cosy familiarity.
These are just some thoughts I’ve had about various events happening across the world, related to racism and intolerance. It is heartbreaking to see people who believe that one race or people are inherently better than others. To even say that other races came ‘from animals’. It makes me sad that they cannot see past their ignorance, that their curiosity has died within them and given rise to something vile. It is a small minority that have these attitudes, but often times this minority shouts the loudest.
But know that the world is filled with decent people. In every country, on every street corner, in every home in this tired world we live in.
Hatred breeds hatred; don’t add fuel to the fire.
Streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. All photos taken by me.