Is It Progression If A Cannibal Uses A Fork?
I stood looking over the edge of the railing to the first floor from the second floor of the Eaton Centre in Toronto. I had been here all day and I was extremely tired. I watched people walk by with their many bags, hustling and bustling like it was some kind of holiday, but it wasn’t. Toronto was always this busy. People walked by me without even noticing, not that I expected them to. I had done all of my shopping and was now waiting for the rest of the group I was with to finish theirs. As I stood looking over the ledge, I closed my eyes for a few moments and just listened to everything around me. People were talking, whistling, laughing, and some were just walking around minding their own business. I could hear each and every footstep that went past me, and I thought about progression.
I opened my eyes and actually took in every person around me. I studied them and watched how they threw nasty looks in each other’s faces like they knew each other. I watched the way they avoided each other and yet they got in each other’s way and never said sorry. They just bumped and shoved into each other like a full contact sport, like someone was the winner and the other was the loser. I watched the way the customers turned their noses up at the cashiers as if they were simply worker ants and how the cashiers overdid their fake smiles, pretending like the customers deserved them.
All that went through my mind was how everyone always talks about how much we’ve progressed and how much farther the human race has come. In reality, the human race is literally a foot race, where if you aren’t winning you’re losing. Someone will always think that they are better than you, and you will always think that you’re better than them.
What I really found impressive as I looked down on all of the shoppers was one thing – diversity. There were people of all sorts of backgrounds and ages in the Eaton Centre. African American people had jobs, people of Asian descent were working at fair minimum wages, and even though it isn’t something you can clearly see, Jewish people were also here working or shopping. On a larger scale, the human race has come a long way when it comes to religions and different ethnic backgrounds. This is something that I am really proud of and that I think is a huge accomplishment for us as a whole. If someone went back even fifty years the world wouldn’t be like it is now, and in that point of view one can see the progress that we have made.
Now that everyone is treated equal in most areas of the world, or at least where I live, people were literally treated the same. Caucasian people gave Asian people the same bad attitude as African American people gave Aboriginal people. As disappointing as this was to me it was still reassuring to see African American businessmen sitting at tables and shaking hands with other business men. It was also reassuring to see Asian ethnicities show off their culinary abilities and to see how well people reacted to their foods and how much they seemed to love the Asian cultures’ offerings.
I thought back to a time when African Americans were slaves on farms for the almighty "White Man" and to when Asians were used to slave away at a railroad that would never benefit them. I shuddered slightly, quickly looking around to see if people noticed my awkward movement. No one noticed me and it reminded me of something else, and once again I was lost in my thoughts.
How far have we really come? Sure, all kinds of races can join armies, contribute to the workforce and come to Canada and live regular lives. They still walk down the street and get discriminated though, don’t they? People will still make racist jokes, and if they only tell them to their friends then they are funny and not wrong to say. People will use discriminating words (specifically one) in music that is commonly heard on the radio, but that isn’t seen as wrong either. In fact, it has more than encouraged people to use it and for African American people to use it as almost an endearing name to someone who they may consider close to them.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and I jumped like I was on a pogo stick. I looked behind me and there stood the group that I had come to the mall with, eyes wide like saucers and as shocked as a deer in headlights. They were done their shopping and held up their bags to display this.
Frankly, I was more than happy to leave this place. I was done with thinking about everything that this world thinks is okay and how much the world seems to think we’ve evolved. I wanted to go back home where the roads were one lane and the mall didn’t have as much diversity. It would be wonderful to see a world with every colour of hand and where every different eye colour could look straight at the other. The conclusion that I had made after all of my thinking today was that I most certainly did not agree with the world, and that we’ve progressed when speaking about equality but not nearly enough. Overall I think diversity in a public place makes me uncomfortable because I am Caucasian, and I am a man, and I feel like every one could easily and understandably look down on me, yet they don’t. Strange how the "White Man" could treat so many races so horribly, yet they would never do the same to get any sort of revenge.