Posts Tagged ‘sterotypes’

If you’re from anywhere else you might find the Texan culture of independence titillating. They are fiercely independent on issues pertaining to their personal freedoms. In many countries and states, including my own, people have been socially engineered to accept the overburden of government interference, this is not the case in Texas. In Texas, you’re expected to be self supporting and willing to cut your own path through life without reliance on a nanny state.

This quaint attitude manifests itself in surprising ways. Few people might realize that the economy in Texas is stronger than any other state, with lower unemployment overall. Lower taxation draws a critical mass of business to the state and that results in job creation. Tech industry is second only to California internationally for example. The recent ‘great recession’ was barely noticeable here.

I think many will be surprised to know that Texas is also a very progressive state. State support of the less fortunate is standard, personal generosity is traditional. Texas supports bicycle sharing in urban area’s, the only community in North America to do so. Support of the arts and artist community is traditional. Art providers have access to long term rental accommodation, short term space is provided in state sponsored communities. There are many media outlets and platforms that produce and support only Texan art and artists on full rotation and not as a side show.

I have never lived in a place where individual citizens had so much access to independent unbiased information. As opposed to state controlled media, CBC, BBC, PBS, etc, the Texans prefer to have a multitude of sources on which to formulate their own opinions. Community financial support through advertising rather than state supported propaganda results in broad based universe of opinions, from every end of the spectrum.

Texas is a place the less independent states love to hate. Perhaps because independent Texas is a gateway to a social alternative that would overturn the status quo in those highly regulated communities. Away from Texas you’ll hear all sorts of stereotypes to reinforce the status quo. Those who denigrate the choices Texans have made are either doing so for their own agenda…or they haven’t actually been here.

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The muse of the media is powerful, educational, biased, destructive and informative. Every country has it’s message of nationalistic intent, a tribal psychology. Individuals fall prey to false messaging and the words of false prophets when the media is either limited by political voice or the intentional malice of a cabal or leadership clique. Good intentions can be muddied by the avarice of sabotage by those whose self- interests are at risk should the population move away from the status quo.

I hear from a lot of people who have regionally, nationally and geographically developed points of view. This was the way the world used to be, the way the leadership of dictators and the greedy fear might change with the oncoming world of free information over the internet and the medium of mass communication and social media. When I hear people speaking  the diatribe of a a particular leadership of religion or political ideology I know that theirs is a small world where spirit, worship, freedom and knowledge has been tightly regulated. I do not really like speaking to conformists, in this I am fortunate to live as a citizen of a civilization that worships freedom above all other ideologies.

When I travel I meet people of every race, colour and creed…of every ideology and religion. What I found extremely interesting when I first began to travel was how simple aspects of the geography had such an effect on the mindsets, cultures and principles of those people who lived there. A religion, race or creed could change by the simple act of trespassing over a mountain range or crossing a river valley. I was amazed that many of these people would harbor such deep traditional resentments against the people who lived ‘on the other side’.

I have lived for a short time with a tribe of Dyak who would hunt other tribes heads but had never seen a white man before. They knew all the power, witchcraft and evil of the tribe five miles downriver but showed an intense interest in my distant culture. On my first evening in the longhouse, they danced for me and sang their songs, the songs of their history and the forest life. They asked me to show them my dances, of course I had none to offer, they were amazed that white men don’t dance with the spirits.

But this is the modern age, the age of the internet and air travel. The world has gotten smaller. No thanks to guide books and easy credit.  I have been particularily sensitive to the messages bandied about by governments that are designed to separate people, as opposed to bringing us closer together. There are political movements and religious doctrines specifically designed to create hatred and animosity. I abhor nationalism, I have seen the results of fanaticism produced by national leaders.

I have a dear friend who is convinced that America and American’s are evil. I have heard the same stereotyping of races and nationals by people around the world, ‘what nonsense’. In some religions it is mandatory to hate the ‘outsider’, they have names for those who are not of their sect. Two of the world’s largest religions have at the heart of their ideology the specter of an end time where everyone currently living  has to die before any lasting peace can be achieved. I just don’t see how mutual mass destruction can be the solution to anything. A person would have to harbor a deep hatred for life in order to believe that.

Isolation, whether geographic, religious, social, fundamental, cultural, ideological, familial or tribal has bred ignorance and intolerance. In the past these evils were isolated by distance and geography. In the modern era these sects have escaped from their isolation to wreak havoc on the world, but this access cuts both ways. The message of freedoms enjoyed by the outside world will eventually have the effect of enlightening those ignorant and impoverished villagers and tribesmen who have been brainwashed by their tribal elders and religious leaders to think that the outside world is evil and profane . The violence of an ugly leadership and the tyranny of a sick and ignorant ideology has historically never been perpetuated when the isolation is exposed by the modern world. What we in the west think of as sending a ray of sunshine into the dark corners of isolation and ignorance, the religious and social leaders of those same centers of intellectual deprivation view as a rifle shot through the heart of the dominion over the hearts and minds of their populations and as such they fear and fight against any change that would supplant their self centered influence.

I want to think that the advent of tourism has been a positive outcome for the world at large. As we get to know each other personally we realize that people everywhere have similar wants, needs and desires. I am very hopeful for the people of ‘The Islamic Middle East’ as they have incrementally shed decades of spiritual isolation and dictatorship and that those countries open their doors wider to people from other parts of the world so that they may learn that great progress has taken place while they were suffering under the delusions of their leaders. It is my desire that those countries, so oppressed by a variety of dictatorships of the mind , spirit and body, will now develop into places where people no longer have to flee from in order to  live a decent peaceful life.