Mental Walls

Humans build walls to separate us from people that we feel are different or less than us in some way. Johnny Harris’ Border series discusses the differences between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and what the reason for that separation is. While this separation dates back to the 1700’s and original political systems, it is similar to the racism and discrimination we see all over the world today. There are many ways the Dominican Republic has built up walls against the Haitians such as the example used at the border market, where Hatias are not let in until hours after the Dominican’s are. The Haitians are physically abused and targeted by Dominican officers and singled out due to their darker skin pigmentation. This racism and stereotyping is very similar to what we are seeing in the U.S today. The only difference is that citizens of the United States are working toward equality for all while the Haitians are living in this present time of discrimation, with no end in sight. These two cultures are living so closely to each other but live unequal lives every day. 

Following this, the TedTalk done by Alexandra Auer discusses how “we build walls for everything”. Even if it is not a wall to separate race, we divide things to give us a sense of security. One thing we do not always realize is that this “mental wall” does not ensure the safety we are trying to obtain. Alexandra states in her TedTalk that “We seek walls for solutions to problems they cannot solve” (Auer 10-42). Most of the time we create these walls based on a bias and once we have seen how this bias can be changed, we can work to break these walls down. The mental walls discussed here also relate to last week’s reading and mental quantum leaps. We categorize things in our heads before we understand why we feel the way we do. It’s extremely important for us to break down these walls in a way that will help others understand and without forcing your opinion on someone, much like Alexandra Auer did with the exhibition of children laughing and playing with the kids on the other side of the fense. Globally, we need to work to integrate cultures, race, ethnicities and interests but this cannot be done while we choose to separate and discriminate.

 Haiti / Dominican Republic.

“The Intangible Effects of Walls”