The Liverpool Echo has the article on its web site – see link below
Is it me or have we become more selfish and intolerant in recent times? And why do some people feel the need to make fun of, intimidate and even attack those who look or speak differently to themselves? What fuels all this fear and loathing?
When I was at school in Maghull and there was a large epileptic colony in the Town I recall some youngsters making fun of the epileptics, some of whom had physical disabilities as well. As I grew up I realised it was fear of those who were different that caused the unfortunate reaction. To see an epileptic have an attack in the street can be disturbing if you don’t understand what is happening, so I guess fear of what happened was concealed by childlike mocking.
Then around the age of 17 I started to work with the epileptic residents at the Maghull Homes and I got to know some wonderful people and understand the challenges they faced every day. I guess I became a more rounded person through that experience.
What strikes me is that young people need to interact with people who are different by race, colour, sexual orientation, disability etc. etc. from an early age so that it becomes normal for them to accept such differences and to make friends with ‘different’ people.
But probably the biggest issue is that prejudices and fears of those who are different get passed down through family generations. I have said before in my postings that there was antisemitism in my family for reasons I have never understood but it stopped being passed down as I would not accept it.
Hate and fear is taught, young people don’t have to carry their parent’s prejudices with them.