We must not succumb to irrational fear

by | Nov 27, 2015 | Editorial

There is some tension in the air regarding the Muslim world when there probably should not be.

We encourage the Humber community to not be afraid. It is that simple.

Fear makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do and limits logical human expression.

In the wake of the Paris attacks of Nov. 13, our school has seen racist graffiti appear and a female Muslim student harassed. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated at Humber College, a school that is proudly inclusive and tolerant of different ideas and worldviews.

If you reduce somebody to a state of being responsible for the actions of a large group of people they are trapped. In an intolerant society this person has nothing to do because all of their actions become representations of a large racist picture and not of their own behaviors as a person. At that point even if they decided to be a hero and become apologetic for the actions of their entire race you would be reducing that person to a state of ultimate submission and enslavement to their own identity.

So what is the problem? Are we afraid of religion? Of terrorism? Of the Middle East?

The answer to these questions is often ‘yes’. We may be afraid but we should not let this fear consume our minds and turn us into a paranoid embodiment of racism and anger.

The truth comes in the simple realization that we are all human and it is inaccurate and unfair to label entire groups of people with one idea or event.

The Paris attacks revealed to people that the threat of ISIS is broader than assumed and that there should be preparations made to prevent these sorts of attacks from happening more.

This preparation should be done by people who have the skills to remain calm when risks present themselves and not by the average person whose only idea is to feel afraid and on guard when a Muslim walks on to a subway.

This sort of behavior does nothing but drive Canadian society apart and makes people trust each other less and blame somebody else for their fear.

We encounter scary things on a daily basis and we deal with them casually when we find it inside ourselves to realize we can manage our fear of ordinary events like car accidents and illness.

This is not exactly the hardest thing to do. We grow up because we learn to accept the things that scare us and become stronger.

Does it help to suggest that the current events in global politics could be a test of humanity’s resolve to remain calm and tolerant in the face of a growing threat? You may ask, who would test us? But that question is irrelevant. Tests appear to people all the time and we conquer them without asking “Who are you to test me?”

This is the same. If we are being tested to keep to our democratic principles and acceptance of diversity at a time of strain, we must succeed. For the success of humanity as a whole and for the success of our home country and our communities, irrational fear and intolerance must be conquered.

It’s important because the fear that we feel is contagious. When we present our fears to each other and try to conquer them “through fear” we are misled and exacerbate the problem.

The solution must be found from a place of calmness and resolve. Without this starting ground, all of our plans to solve this refugee crisis and the resulting stigma that attacks the Muslim world, even as represented among our fellow citizens and neighbours, will be doomed to failure.

There are many ways to find calmness, but the easiest way is to remember the things we have been taught from an early age, the things that we enshrine and fight to protect.

We were taught from an early age in the modern school system that we should not bully each other.

It is obvious that some people did not internalize this lesson.

We want these people to wake up and realize their behaviors of judgment and fear are counterproductive to the goals of stability and peace.

This is not just morally wrong, but it is also incredibly unfair and if you display these types of behaviors they will inevitably turn around and attack you for your identity in the future.

Be smart. If not for the sake of your country or community or family, then for the sake of yourself and your own self-interest to live in an accepting and non-racist society, please observe careful consideration of all forms of human identity.