It's the thing we as humans have been striving for since the dawn of time. Equality. What women have longed for. What minorities have protested for. What nations have fought and died for. We have come so far in our strides to become equals; for every human being to be treated like the last. But that glorious notion, those four definitive syllables, can never be attained. At least for now.
Let me tell you why.
It all revolves around one word. and that word is "taboo." Here's a quick definition
taboo: təˈbuː/ (noun)
1. a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.
"many taboos have developed around physical exposure"
|synonyms:||prohibition, proscription, veto, interdiction, interdict, ban, restriction, boycott, non-acceptance, anathema|
"the taboo against healing on the sabbath"
Now how does this one word single-handedly destroy our humanistic desire for equality? Bear with me for a moment.The past is important. There is so much to learn and remember so as to not make the same mistakes as those before us have. But the thing is, there is a difference between remembering and refusing to let go of the past and accepting what progress has been made today.We are no longer living in the past. This is the present. How can we as a society expect to move forward if we still feel the need to tread lightly over important issues and hurt feelings? We are making equality a taboo. We refuse to openly discuss these matters and that in return makes them something that will still be considered strange. Forbidden. Restricted.
Those who were given less in the past, women, minorities, immigrants, homeless, will forever be seen as " less than" until we consider ourselves as more. If we, as women, want to be seen the same as men we must stop expecting more. If we truly desire to be equal to a man, then we cannot expect the same pleasantries that we have been receiving for decades: expecting to be paid for, talked to lightly, being assisted first. Some may say that all those things are just manners, but the truth is, something as mysterious and fleeting as equality needs to be all or nothing. There is no way we can hope to achieve it if we do not accept all aspects that comes with it.
Equality is a taboo because we make our past mistakes a taboo. Derogatory terms that were used for others are still kept hushed, kept swept under the rug not to be approached. Using these words to address another is deemed socially unacceptable, yet when it comes to non-race affiliated derogatory terms, those are considered a form of self-expression and labelled as "acceptable." We are no longer in the past. We, as a society, are continuously trying to move forward. And in order to do that we must bring forth all the words that are deemed offensive and level the playing field. If one particular race cries out for equality, you must first distance yourself from the past and treat yourself the same before others can. If you are still expecting others to tread lightly around past issues you will never achieve equality. This in no way means you should forget the past, but it does mean that it is healthy to move forward from it.
It is not until we treat ourselves as equals that we will ever have a chance to obtain equality.
WE are the only thing that is stopping us. By dwelling on the past, we can never obtain the future. We demand better treatment because of the unfair treatment of our ancestors. But by asking for more, by expecting to be treated differently, we are in fact undermining our own efforts to be equals.
We have made discussion of the past a taboo. It is uncomfortable, so it has been pushed aside. Humans, society, people, are not perfect (shocker, I know). With the remembrance of history also comes the feeling of deep regret, but now is the time to move forward from that. Let us not make the open, honest treatment of one another a taboo. We are not our past. We are now. So let's treat each other like it.