Bad Things Happen Because Good People Don’t Speak Out
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005). Civil Rights Activist
When we look around the world today, it is easy to assume that the majority of people are bad – be it prejudice, corruption, cheating on a spouse, beating up a spouse, cheating in sports and more.
However, my belief (and perhaps I am too much of an optimist), is that the majority of people are good, law abiding citizens with kindness (let us not forget there are approx. 7 billion of us on planet earth), but that the issue here lies not with the minority bad people, but with the majority good who often do not speak up when they witness wrong doings. This means cheaters and haters know their actions are safe because few people will expose their misdeeds.
When was the last time we spoke up when we witnessed: Corruption, Tribalism, Sexism, Racism, Ageism, Discrimination against someone with a disability, a friend cheating on their spouse, a friend copying work (Plagiarism) at school/university and submitting it as his/her work, and so the list goes on? Often we keep quiet because “… it is none of our business” or so we think. The thing is, that same person who can cheat on their spouse or, display poisonous hate (racism, tribalism), is dangerous since he/she can cheat on you too or, infect you with their poisonous views or behaviour i.e. hang around them for too long and you become contaminated by their poison as you start to think their bad behaviour is the norm.
There was a story that went viral in the UK recently about a hate incident. A young Muslim lady entered a tram with her sister – she had a headscarf on. As she began to sit, an Englishman started verbally abusing her, calling her names, telling her that ” her people” were murderers and terrorists, that she should not sit anywhere near him and that she should get off the tram and on and on he rambled on with his hate speech. The tram was full of English people and so his ignorance led him to believe he would have support. How wrong he was; for he had arrogantly assumed the silent majority would be on his side.
Immediately, an English Woman jumped in to defend the Muslim lady, and other passengers joined her as they joined to defend the Muslim woman until most of the carriage had joined in. The hater was on his own. He was cornered. He had no where to turn and did what most hate cowards do when called out: he looked for a quick escape. As he started to leave the tram carriage, the other passengers (who had called for him to leave not the Muslim lady), started to clap at his departure, thus shaming him even more. The other passengers then turned to the Muslim lady and started to hug her.
All this had taken was the action on one passenger to start this movement; much like Rosa Parks, an African-American Civil Rights activist. According to Wikipedia, on December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Parks (who passed away in 2005), has became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
So remember, you may think your actions do not matter because you are only one person i.e a drop in the ocean but never under estimate the influence you may have on others. When you see wrong, defend the victim and speak out. If possible take the wrong doer aside and explain to them why their actions are not right. That is often all it takes since many times, people close to us can be the the ones in the wrong.
Let us finish today with a quote from Ms Rosa Parks who said:
” I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”