Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trust, Trusting & Trustworthy

We recently helped our daughter move back home from UVA after her semester finished. So we parked our cars next to the dorm and moved stuff. It was a lot of back and forth from the cars to the dorm. And her room being on the fourth floor didn't help! But I noticed something interesting that day. I locked my car every time I would go into the dorm to get more stuff. So did some of the other parents there, but some didn't.

"You don't have to lock the car when you go in, dad," my daughter said to me, when she noticed that.
"But your TV, your laptop is in the car, Neety," I replied.
"Chill, dad. Nobody's going to take anything," she said.
I reluctantly did not lock the car after that. And then I looked around. I noticed something even more interesting. People who looked to be from my kind of background (I mean who grew up in third world countries) were locking their cars. People who seemed to be from here originally, were not locking their cars each time. I know I am making a vast generalization, but that was the trend of about the ten - fifteen cars there at the time. Why was that?

To me the answer was simple. Nobody leaves cars and homes unlocked where I grew up. That's not to say that that we don't have crime here, but there is a big difference. So that has percolated into my personality. Our kids have grown up here, so they are more trusting of people. And when you are more trusting, you also become more trustworthy. And the cycle goes on.

But the opposite is also true. We all get upset if somebody breaks our trust, but what's more upsetting is that we will generally have a tough time trusting that individual again. And this cycle also goes on.

I think the environment we grow up in has a lot to do with how trusting we are. If we are surrounded with a healthy social fabric in our formative years, our character is infused with a trusting nature. In the not so well to do countries, corruption and nepotism are rife. And because of that, people who grew up in those times, trusting does not come easy.

"Trust actions. Life happens at the level of actions and movement, not words or intentions. Trust only actions." ~ Khalil Gibran


Sunday, May 9, 2010

A step backwards?

Yesterday, my teenage son was getting ready to go to the mall to 'hang out'.
"You got some money, Simar?" I asked. "And keep your phone with you, just in case."
He nodded affirmative to both and off he went. After a bit I watched a discussion on TV regarding the new Arizona Immigration law. And that started me thinking. If I was in Arizona, would my son need to carry some sort of Government issued ID too? He doesn't have a license yet, so he really does not have any sort of official ID. But he is brown skinned, like me and he's going to stay that way.

As per the new law, you could be asked for identification, if the police official suspects you to be an illegal alien. And you don't have to be on the wrong side of the law to be asked to prove your resident status. Now I know that 99 per cent of the police officers and other officials will not stop people on the streets for IDs, but they do have the authority to do that if they so desire. And by just looking at an individual, who would they suspect to be an illegal resident? A person with white skin and blond hair? Or somebody with darker skin?

If somebody asks me for my ID to prove my resident status, I really would be okay with it. I grew up in a third world country, where the politicians, police and most of the bureaucracy is corrupt. So I am more tolerant of the whims and quirks of those in power. But our children are not. They grew up in this great country, where freedom and liberty are the essence of life. They have been taught from kindergarten that the color of your skin does not matter. So how will our teenage son or daughter react if someone asks them for an ID, just because they have brown skin? Not well, I'm sure.

These are my personal views, and a lot of you might not agree. I know there is a problem with illegal immigrants. But is this the right way to tackle it? The focus should be on our borders and/or on people who hire illegal residents. But as a people, if we see something that does not seem right, we should speak up.

"Fate and destiny do not look kindly on those who stay neutral at times of injustice." Martin Luther King, Jr.