Minorities
20 February, 2014
Minorities
Fair and right treatment of minorities by the nations of the world is one of the most pronounced features of our times, and one of the outstanding achievements too. Achievement yes, but not every nation has achieved the status of a fair-and-right handler of minorities in their own countries. I wonder where Georgia stands in this respect. Does this nation have a right sense of what Minority means? Are we reasonable enough a people to co-exist with minorities in our
land lovingly and peacefully? Or are we still shrugging our shoulders and goggling our eyes at those who do not look, behave and feel exactly as the majority does?
Majority meaning in this context – ethnic, Caucasian, orthodox Christian, straight, healthy, not hungry, traditional, emotional Georgians, speaking the Georgian language! For those who are not sure what Minority means, I would use a couple of generically accepted definitions of the word: sociological category within a demographic group which is differentiated and defined by social majority, based on ethnicity, race, gender, social status, wealth, health or sexual orientation. Members of minority do not usually hold many positions of social power – it is the majority who has that privilege in the country. Public discussion of civil rights gained distinction in the second half of the 20th century, which usually touched upon the way and the quality of life of minority groups because it is the members of minority groups who are subject to specific treatment in the countries where they happen to live for various kinds of reasons. To put it simpler, minorities are often subjected to discrimination by majority, and this may very well happen even in the depth of the nations who are considered an epitome of civilized thinking and living. Minority group members and their personal lives and personalities are often becoming victims of differentiated and unequal treatment because they are singled out from other members of society via their regular features– physical appearance and cultural distinctiveness. I am not surprised that those negatively particularized individuals feel discriminated. Every more or less sizable society possesses minority groups which are considered Minority, based on their ethnicity or linguistic peculiarity, which finally becomes the reason of their discrimination, but the good news is that we are living in the times when people have started talking about Minority problems openly and valiantly, especially in the Western world. Georgia is trying to claim a solid spot under the Western sun which I think is good. I grew up in the society with a propensity to castigate and ostracize any individual with a nonconventional sexual orientation. Today the picture has altered so drastically that an open discussion of gay issues, unabashed participation in gay parades and intellectual reasoning about gay marriages has become a norm. So lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as minority groups, are living and working in Georgia as in any other modern civilized country, and although they are not in the greatest favor here, they still manage to find quite a number of fans and adherents to feel confident enough for getting out of closets and making public statements and appearances. Is there anything wrong about this? Well, the issue is controversial in Georgia as anywhere else in the world. I think it would be fair enough to say that religious minorities are faced with as much inconveniences as the minorities of other categories. The main reason for this is that they have a faith which differs from the beliefs of the majority. The world is getting used to the thought that a human being today is free enough to choose religion, and if they do not want to be religious they can be atheists and nobody is going to denounce them for being one. This kind of attitude certainly makes the world a much easier place to live than it was a couple of decades ago, but the question is if this philosophy is widely shared by our people. There are certain symptoms in the air of that much religious tolerance but we are still far from the situation, approximated to the ideal one. After all, most of the country is of Christian Orthodox faith and as it is well known, Orthodox means orthodox i.e. not very easily persuaded and changed and not very flexible in accepting the fairness and goodness of other beliefs. But we are working on and trying hard to learn how to be considerate and tolerant to the faiths and orientations, other than those that are widely accepted and conventional here in Georgia. As a matter of fact, Georgia has historically been known as one of the countries where ethnic and religious tolerance was a commonplace thing. We are learning more about the good deeds and nice points of those who are officially called minorities and thus differing from the majority, although the human essence is a perpetual value, uniting us all. And we are little by little coming to believe that in diversity there could be something useful and creative which might be not so bad for this country and people. After all, the Globe today is characterized with a strong trend to embrace the diversified World and live with that diversification as happily as possible, using the motley Earth to the best of human advantage. And finally, to be more specific, the list of minorities is not limited by faith, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The category would probably include as well senior citizens, physically and mentally challenged people, the unemployed, the hungry and even the communists who were an overwhelming majority just a quarter of a century ago and today make a regular minority. How about the defenders of the minority rights? Wouldn’t these good people be in the category of minority too? Probably! But let us make a wish that they be a powerful majority as soon as possible. Wouldn’t this be wonderful?
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