Be the change you want to see

I’ve never been patriotic and I can’t say that I ever really felt my country to be my own. I grew up with different kinds of people, with various cultural backgrounds, using a different language compared to others around me. Still I always felt that I was accepted.

The last couple of years there has been a change, a change in how we treat those who are in the minority, who are different and who can’t fend for themselves. The election results from the last parliament election showed that a change had come to stay and that it was now firmly anchored in the core of our society.

Today we cast a vote for our next president and I’ve cast mine with pride. Whatever happens, we will have restored some of the faith we have in our society being an open minded and progressive nation.

Be the change you want to see.

– – –

Democracy is firmly rooted in this country. We respect the fundamental rights and freedoms. 

Cloudy racial theories have never found a foothold. We see ourselves as open-minded and tolerant. 

But it’s not as simple as that. 

Prejudice need not be anchored in some execrable theory . It has a much more simple origin. Prejudice is always rooted in everyday life. It germinates in the workplace and in the neighborhood. It is an outlet for people’s own failures and disappointments. 

It is above all an expression of ignorance and fear. Ignorance of other people’s specificity, fear of losing a position, a social privilege, a right of first. 

A person’s color, race, language and place of birth has nothing to do with human qualities. To grade people with such standards is in stark contrast to the principle of human equality. But it is shamefully easy to use for the one who feels inferior – in the workplace, in social life, in competition for a girl or boy. 

Prejudice is always lurking, even in an enlightened society. It can flare out into a jibe, a thoughtless line, a small meanness. It might be that the intention wasn’t bad, but it may create wounds that never heal. Most people have a need to assert themselves against others. And then prejudice is close at hand, against those who are different from you – the foreigner, the stranger.

Olof Palme – “Prejudice under the surface”

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