By NICOLE BURROWS
Human beings, through their religious and resulting social institutions, have set themselves up for eternal failure, particularly via penalty inflicted for disagreement over religious doctrines.
Where do you get the right to harm me because I don’t agree with you?
How can you judge the entire rest of the world with something as subjective and personal as your (religious) belief system? And not just judgment by voicing opinion, but by taking extreme physical measures?
If I grew up in (real?) Islam, how can a (real?) Christian tell me I’m wrong for what I believe, when it’s all I know? Or vice versa? How can a person raised as Hindu tell another person of Jewish faith/ancestry that they’re wrong for their beliefs? How can the person who has never had exposure to any religion or religious faith tell the Buddhist that what they believe is wrong?
‘Belief’ in something is subjective, and that’s why you ‘believe’ it. And, outside physical wellbeing, why does it matter anyway?
Why do I have to believe what you believe for you to respect me? And if I don’t believe what you believe, how does that give you any right to harm me, particularly when I am not harming you or anyone else?
I swear, the longer you live in this world the more apparent the hypocrisy of its systems become.
I’m not going to sit down and make a cartoon or a laughing stock of your faith, because personally, I don’t care about your faith, and to spend my time – sorry, waste my time – poking fun as it is not my style. A person who is preoccupied with poking fun at your faith clearly has issues. But as long as they do not cause bodily harm to anyone, what gives you the right to cause bodily harm to them? Especially when you cause this harm just because 1) you’re angry, or 2) you think whatever you believe is more right than what they believe?
We – men and women – create injustices in our world by getting wholly submerged in things which, by themselves, matter less than human wellbeing. We create the problems that exist in the world when/because we create reasons to be unjust, unfair, and unloving. And even when we think we’re being just, fair or loving, it’s all rooted in belief systems, which are most often tied to one or more religions, which keep us separated and which we use to slam the entire world with.
In reality, there is no uniformity of justice and fairness and lovingness, only versions and perceptions. That’s why there is too often no justice served in our courts, no fairness of opportunity amongst our people and no real love for fellow woman and man exhibited by the very people who claim love as the central feature of their various religious beliefs.
Religion is a choice; being human is not. To put religion before humanity is profoundly conflicting.
Relevance of royalty
Somewhere in history, someone first became a king or a queen, primarily based on their existing social class or, subsequently, their inherited social class. People with money became the nobility. People with money became elite. People who subscribed to prevailing religious faith, particularly the elite, automatically became honourable and revered.
Anyone with the misfortune – which is all it really amounts to – of not having money, or education (bought with money) or religious association, had no hope in hell of surviving very long in their miserable lives. Possessions have always dictated opportunity. Possessions have always separated people of the ruling class and the working class. The best opportunity the working class had in bygone years was to join religious movement – once it was established, of course, by the ruling class which religious movement was preferable.
The separatist practices of many hundreds of years ago have left us with the existence of royals. And most ironically, though not surprisingly, the very people who are disadvantaged by this historic and ongoing separation are the ones who venerate the royals. They glorify the elite and their rituals and lifestyles, yet they are the ones who are poor or working class.
The relevance of royals (and monarchies), when you have a designated governing system, is nil, and for no other reason but to perpetuate classicism. Waiting to see what colour the queen will wear, waiting to see the duchess’ new dress, waiting to know the baby’s name, watching to see who will marry next and whether they’ll marry aristocracy, or, if not, whether they’ll fit into the aristocracy. It’s a veritable circus. And the commoners suck it up like water in a desert.
Discrimination by banks
Nearly two years ago, I walked into (CIBC) First Caribbean International Bank on Paradise Island, a bank I had an account with at the time, and the security guard asked me to remove my shades. I, dumbfounded, looked at him blankly and asked “why?” He told me it was bank policy not to allow customers in if they were wearing shades.
I told him that it was a stupid policy and I would not remove my shades. This exchange happened at that bank several more times before it closed down and relocated.
Some months later, I found it necessary to stop into the mall branch of that bank, again to conduct personal business, which, notably, is always more to their benefit than my own. The line was very long and I contemplated waiting, until the security guard came over and bullied me and my mother to remove our sunglasses.
Again, I asked why. Again I got the same trite response that this was bank policy. And believe it or not, this time the bank actually had a pretty metal sign out front which identified the “no shades” policy and all the other things that weren’t allowed in the bank.
Needless to say, I did not remove my shades, and my mother and I left the bank to find another to transact our business.
Not long thereafter, I went into the Sandyport branch of the same bank and was asked to remove my shades.
Now, the security guard there was always so nice to me, and rather than get into a debate with him, I ignored him and carried on with my business. I mean, what was he supposed to do? Hold me down and take off my shades?
I’ve been back in that bank several times, each time ignoring the security guard’s request.
Fast forward to two weeks ago when I entered the JFK branch of this same annoying bank, and the security guard there tried hard to get my attention. Of course, knowing the reason, I ignored him.
I am now infuriated, because, not only am I hearing this nonsense again, but I am only going to the ATM. I am ready to spit venom.
He shouts at me “Miss!” and I turn around to see why he’s so panicked and he tells me I have to remove my shades. Having been through this drill at least a dozen times before, though no less patient about it, I look at him and ask him why. He tells me that it’s the bank’s policy, that you can’t come in without taking off your shades.
I told this young man, who was only doing his job I’m sure he believed, that I would not remove my shades. Further, I asked him where the sign was to detail this foolishness, and he told me I would have to take it up with management. So I asked the manager’s name, and confirmed that I would follow up.
And during that same week, I visited Scotiabank on Thompson Boulevard where, would you believe it, I was asked to remove my shades? I ignored the security guard and walked by him and onto the teller line. He waved from a distance, several times, to get me to remove my shades and I ignored him every time, conducted my business and then left the bank.
The same thing happened at Scotiabank on Paradise Island.
What is this insanity going on in local banks? Why are they profiling their customers? Do criminals/thieves wear shades? And if they do, does that make everyone wearing shades a potential criminal/thief? Do I look like a criminal/thief? What’s coming next? I’ll not be able to enter if I have jeans on? I’ll have to leave my handbag at the door? I can’t wear slippers? My hair has to be pulled back off my face?
What is the legitimate, acceptable purpose for this asinine “policy” these banks claim to have enforced?
I can only guess that they want their security cameras to see our eyes when we walk in, ie this ridiculous requirement of making you remove your shades is meant to be a security measure. What other reason could they possibly dream up to justify this new “policy”?
But, as a customer of or visitor to any of these banks, I expect the banks to be fully able to secure their businesses with little or no impact upon me. How is a bank’s inability to properly secure its premises the customers’ problem?
Dear Bank, the customer is not responsible for your failure to employ effective security measures which ensure your safety as well as the safety of your customers, be they clients of or visitors to your bank. So, how, in the name of all that is sane, is the burden of security being placed on the customer/consumer?
In short, this “policy” of local commercial banks is discriminatory against the people who patronise them.
To the banks: it is not your business to dictate to clients what they should and shouldn’t wear to come in and give you their money. How do you know that client does not have vision problems, or a legitimate eye disease that requires them to wear protective lenses, sunshine or no sunshine? And, if that is the case, are they meant to walk around with a doctor’s note to show the bank in order to be allowed to enter? And if one person can do this, what is to stop everyone from doing this? That is the stupidity of this policy.
Who thought up this new level of bias being inflicted upon Bahamian consumers, which seems to be growing slowly and insidiously, with no one making comment about it or challenging it? Are Bahamians to be subjected to yet another layer of mistreatment by foreign commercial banking institutions?
Thus far, and to my knowledge, RBC is the only foreign bank which hasn’t inflicted this ignorance on its local patrons – yet. Bear in mind, this is just an observation. In truth, I am no supporter of any bank because, in my estimation, they all exist to plunder. Another necessary evil.
Of note, too, Commonwealth Bank has not (yet) jumped on the “no shades” bandwagon.
I hope, before any of them dare to implement this “policy”, these last banks standing (and the ones already fallen) will consider that if all sunglass-wearing patrons decided not to bank with them and withdrew all funds from their banks on the grounds of discriminatory practices, then said banks would have a whole lot less money in their respective vaults – ironically, the very thing they are, presumably, trying to protect with this ridiculous “policy”.