Sunday, November 21, 2021

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together (MY Eng #32)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', and 'darkest before dawn' and 'empty vessels make the most noise'.

Ever seen a sparrow chilling out with an eagle? Or a turkey and chicken being BFFs?

Animals are territorial by nature. They rarely inter-breed. Not even talking about prey and predator out in the wild here. Even domesticated cats and dogs don't get along.

Humans, being sentient creatures, are more naturally more social. We keep pets and tend to well-trimmed gardens. Aside from chomping down meat and vegetable, we're generally quite kind to other living creatures on Earth.

That would make us equally nice to each other as well, yes? Right? RIGHT?

* * *

Alas, humans have our own "feathers" as well. We all don't look alike. There's diversity in our species. We come in different shapes, shades, and sizes. And that makes us tending to flock along with those who share our feathers...

Let's not beat around the bush (another idiom!), shall we? The keywords continue to crop up in the news and social media: discrimination, bias, and a host of words that end with "-ism".

Things are better than before in many places in the world, of course. No one is getting burned on the stake for the way they look and sound. No one is shunned from society simply for swearing piety to a certain deity.

But even in modern societies, lingering primal instincts remain. Natural appearances still create a first impression - the colour of our hair, size of our eyes, accent in our voices, fluency in our language.

* * *

We're taught from young not to judge a book by its cover (another idiom!).

Sadly, that's not how the real world works - even among the most enlightened circles. College admission. Student assessment. Job hiring. There's always a margin of irrationality and unfairness at play. True equality is a pipe's dream.

The sky's the limit for humans. We have reached the stars. Yet, we are still picky on who gets to fly along when we take the skies.

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