It’s easy to think there are more things dividing us than uniting us. But we actually have much more in common with other nationalities than you’d think.
“Let’s Open Our World” is a program inviting individuals to cross boundaries, embrace our differences, and open up the world to ourselves. Granted, while globally, it is often economically infeasible for many classes of people to be able to afford travel, everybody should philosophically be able to travel the world in order to meet other people, and experience other cultures and religions. Travel opens our minds—when we experience something different, we begin to see things differently.
To celebrate diversity in the world, momondo.com has introduced program called The DNA Journey: a journey into who we are and how we are all connected as a global family. The travel company asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test, and it turns out that they have much more in common with other nationalities than they would ever have thought…
This, to me, is a highly creative example of bridging barriers and of how imagination, science, and art can make an impression on people and change minds… One wonders what would have happened if British citizens had had the opportunity to view such material—or as one program participant noted, it “should be [made] compulsory for everyone” to take such DNA tests—perhaps much of the xenophobia that pervades the population would have evaporated and the Brexit vote would have gone a much different way.
A monster of the same shade and form is writhing in the United States (and globally, as one can attest from preliminary comments in the video above). One wonders how people come to think that they are outside the realm of this global citizenship, these global genetic markings, that somehow their ancestors were so immobile and un-adventurous as to interbreed to some sort of point of “pure” genome sequence. One might think that Americans, of all people, should be even more sensitive to the global melting pot philosophy…and yet…here we are with just as many ego- and ethno- and nationalist-centrist ideas about what constitutes superiority.
Confronting the unimaginable, the things we fear, the things we’ve been taught to loathe as evil or despicable…when we are forced to recognize these things in ourselves and in our families, we are forced to reassess the brainwashing that has been culturally impressed upon us and festered because of isolationism—sometimes for generations, sometimes for millennia. Gay and lesbian people know this. It’s why there are campaigns for LGBT people to commit to the act of coming out publicly; it’s not just because it is so much more freeing to be honest with one’s self (though that is certainly true also), but that when family members, coworkers, neighbors, and other people in a community realize that gay people are the people they’ve known all along…that gay and lesbian people are our brothers and sisters, children and nieces and nephews, grandchildren, god-children, uncles, aunts, parents, coworkers, electricians, plane captains, morticians, teachers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… And it turns out that LGBT people are not any different from the people you thought they were before you knew.
Travel breaks down barriers in the exact same way. Actually meeting the citizens of a country that you thought was corrupt or evil or genetically inferior will dispel all of the preconceived notions that you had previous to your encounter. We are manipulated by governments and politicians and media, by false economic, language, and cultural barriers that keep us imprisoned in our own ignorance.
I’m not saying that you won’t find ignorance and xenophobia in other places around the world. You have just as much responsibility to show and to reveal to others that your culture and country and genetics do not pigeonhole you, don’t define what you are capable of—compassion, good will, empathy, humility, charity, love, and friendship. You’re likely to find that you have more things in common than not.
To see more video footage of this program—and open your mind further—click through to The DNA Journey playlist on YouTube.