a cautionary tale – behind blue eyes
“You’re a federal prisoner now. The rules are simple. You do what you’re told – when you’re told to do it.”
. . . . coming (soon) to a town near you?!
!! Finally, a shorter essay for readers!! (sort of)
In a country in the tropics, almost all citizens had a monotone skin color of medium brown. Hair color was a uniform, or consistent, black throughout the population. As well, brown eyes were not just the norm, but were nearly universal among the people.
Into one family, a baby boy was born. But, he was different. He was born with blue eyes.
His parents were extremely distressed by this. This phenomenon was not unheard of in the country, but it was very rare and was considered most unfortunate. The baby boy, let’s call him Toby, was thought of as defective. There were instances where such “unfortunate” parents abandoned their babies with blue eyes to the elements. Consequently, one encountered few adults with blue eyes in the country.
How had this happened? – his parents wondered. Were demonic forces at work?
Unbeknownst to his mother and father, each were heterozygous as regards the genes for eye color. Each parent had one gene for brown eyes, and one gene for blue eyes. The gene for brown eyes being the dominant (as opposed to recessive) gene in human populations, Toby’s 3 siblings all had brown eyes. Toby, however, had received a gene for blue eyes from both his mother and his father.
Toby’s parents did not abandon him, but they had difficulty accepting him. His mother and father treated him differently from their other children.
When Toby went to school at age 5, the other children shunned him. Over time, they became emboldened and openly teased or mocked this small boy. This boy was different, he was inferior, he was bad. Sometimes they beat him. The teachers and staff were uncomfortable around him, perhaps out of fear. The parents in the neighborhood would not let their own children play with Toby.
Toby’s parents were ashamed of him. This attitude developed over time as the family lost some standing or respect in the community by having this “defective” child. His brother and 2 sisters felt sorry for him, but were also somewhat uneasy around him.
The local gossip had it that poor Toby was evil or possessed by demons. He was on the receiving end of much hate and rejection throughout his childhood. He basically had no friends. In secondary school, in his teens, the girls avoided him and would not even talk with him. You could say he was a pariah as regards social interaction with his peers.
Yet this rejected and ridiculed youth possessed talents, was well-behaved, and was very intelligent. Here was a boy with much potential to make a significant contribution to his society.
Enduring so many years of rejection and hatred, in time, Toby came to believe that he had little or no value as a human being. Having no human companionship outside of his family, and even that was not very wholesome, he began to despair. This deep despair eventually led him to engage in increasingly self-destructive behavior (drugs, recklessness).
In the end, finding no one to accept or love or value him, he did not want to live. His mental and emotional state deteriorated rapidly. His family could not help him get out of this dangerous state of mind. His older sisters showed some concern, but they were not so close anymore, each having married and moved to a different part of the city.
One night, Toby jumped out of a 10th story window while under the influence of powerful hallucinogenic drugs. He may have thought that he was walking out of a ground floor glass door, or that he could fly, or perhaps he intended to take his own life.
The society did not value him and his potential contributions. He might have been a doctor or a statesman or an inventor.
Is this really so extreme an example? One considers how vicious young grade school age children can be at times. As well, in some cultures – and not just in so-called “backward” societies – handicapped or deformed children are treated very badly (neglected, rejected, at times abandoned). A child is not responsible for any birth defects he/she was born with!
Why do we hate?
Why do we humans always seem to hate petty differences in others? What are we teaching our children? What example are we setting for them?
I must stop typing now. . . . I am too emotionally over wrought. . . .
The below image has been shared on Facebook many times, and it is hard to find who to credit for the original photograph. We offer it here as apropos the theme of our essay.
Recent blog subscribers may be interested in these earlier essays from our archives:
In case you missed it, here is the link to our essay released late on Monday in North America (we think that this is one of our better essays):
Until next time, best wishes to all! Feel free to share any essays with your friends. Happy Lunar New Year!