In a democratic system–which has been touted as the best political system–the votes matter and the majority comes to rule. In a system such as this, who do we trust? The people or the leaders that they have elected? For the longest time, I felt that democracy was the best system; for it gave people a voice and a vote.
But what happens when there are minorities that live in our midst? Minorities whose voices become small and insignificant as the voice of the majority grows bigger, larger and more powerful.
The minority group may begin shouting louder; only to find themselves further ostracised and outcasted by the very system that oppresses them or does not provide equal weight to their voices and their concerns. To think I haven’t even gotten started on equal opportunities.
Minority groups exist in virtually all societies I have ever lived in. Some of them are new immigrants, while others are multigenerational groups that have been a counterculture within the polity for a significant period of time. If this minority group were to re-merge with the mother or home country from which they originate–would they cease to be ‘different’? The truth is that they may well continue to be outsiders.
In Vedic Astrology, Rahu is a significator of foreigners and the foreign influences that exist in person’s a natal chart. If there are any conjunctions, it indicates a stronger than average influence with foreigners and foreign cultures. Some people are just more likely to experience the state of being ‘foreign’. The word foreign itself has its roots in the Old Latin. Its meaning refers to someone who is outside the door.
The implication, then, is that if this person were to receive a magic key, he would someone be on the inside of that door. From glass ceilings to great walls; there are many ways to envisage and describe the state of being on the outside and looking it–and knowing somewhere deep down that one can never be on the inside of whatever is occurring.
The need to belong to a group or community is one of our basic instincts. It is no different to food, clothing and shelter. Humans were not created to be alone. When we live our lives in a state of segregation–whether state-enforced or otherwise–we become outsiders.
Within certain communities, it is possible to become an insider via a ceremony, religious initiation or vis-a-vis the immigration process. Within other communities, it is nearly impossible to get the key; no matter how hard someone may try. The odds are stacked against them.
So what’s the solution, then?
Minority groups cannot holistically and unequivocally be portrayed or seen as marginalised groups, even if their rights are not protected under the law. All minority groups that I can think of have made significant contributions to their own respective societies. However, the truth is that these contributions are not often given the spotlight or the accolade that they deserve. Why?
The answer, if you will, comes down to politics. When injustices are systematic, the creative contributions that minorities make to the group as a whole are disregarded. Instead, the injustice that has been meted out to them tries to reassert itself in different arenas. It seems, then, that the fundamental challenge they face is to be seen as full citizens as opposed to second-rate citizens.
Many are called ‘sell outs’ when they choose to assimilate with the wider community for the sake of acceptance or communal relations. This is a natural human instinct. The opposite is far more difficult: to maintain one’s cultural identity while finding a place within the whole.
The key, if you will, is to no longer stand outside the door and wait for someone to open it for you. Minorities somehow know that no one is coming. They will have to create a new door with a new key.
Leaders of minority groups tend to lobby for political rights, especially when the state has grown so oppressive that it is unbearable for them to live under such circumstances. Then, they migrate to greener pastures only to be faced with new and different challenges that will take time to fully reveal themselves as well as overcome.
Minorities have always sought to make meaningful contributions to their communities. But since they are not part of the system in any meaningful way, they cannot contribute their skills, talents and experience to the system. They have to work outside of it: be it in private enterprise or in grassroots organisations.
These arenas are where minorities have historically flourished. My intuition tells me that that is where they will continue to flourish. If you, as a member of a minority, has been knocking on a door that refuses to open; perhaps you have been knocking on the wrong door.
It’s time to create your own.