August 13, 2021- I finished reading “Caste”, by Isabel Wilkerson, this evening: A magnificent work, by a stellar human being. For the first time in my adult life, if not the entirety of my life span, I felt that here is someone who understands my point of view-that there is, simply put, no group of people, anywhere, who deserve to be cast aside (pun intended) or downtrodden, so that others may rise to the top-either through privilege or through through benefitting from the efforts of those held lower than themselves.
It is human nature to want to pull the wagons in a circle; to exclude those one dislikes or whom one sees as a threat. It is spiritual nature, more reflective of the higher self, what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”, to at some level, at least, regard others as equanimical to oneself; to keep the wagon secure, but somewhat ready to receive the visitor.
Let me take stock, of just who could be a second class citizen, given what is apparent in the Divine Teachings, and in the common origins of humanity. No European person is a second class citizen; no person of East Asian or South Asian ancestry can reasonably be seen as such; no person of Indigenous American (North or South) or Pacific Islander descent, nor any person of African or Caribbean ancestry; no Jews, Arabs, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Australian Aboriginals, Central Asians, Saami, Finns, Estonians, or their cousins, the Magyars (Hungarians) who even claim to “whiteness”. None warrant second (or lesser) class status.
There are other classes of people, sometimes regarded as children of a lesser god. People who are unable to walk, speak, hear, see, think clearly; men who are attracted to other men, women who are drawn to other women, people who are drawn to both sexes; people who have undergone gender transition, or who just like to wear the clothing of their opposite gender; people who are mentally ill; those who prefer to live in tents or those who feel the need to live in mansions; one-time law breakers who have served their time and are making a bona fide effort at living a righteous life; ectomorphs or endomorphs; conservatives, liberals, reactionaries or progressives; Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Sikhs, atheists, agnostics, Naturists, Baha’is; NONE of these deserve to be placed in the “also ran” category.
So, it appears that there is, in the end, no one who warrants less than first class status- in terms of citizenship and access to opportunity. We can’t all be financially wealthy or all be in charge of the community. We can’t all do the same work.
We do, however, deserve a shot at realizing our dreams.