What If...?

What if we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same. According to an email I once received (and it's been widely circulated, I'm sure), the village would look like this:

There would be:

  • 57 Asians
  • 21 Europeans
  • 14 from the Western Hemisphere (north and south)
  • 8 Africans
  • 52 would be female
  • 48 would be male
  • 70 would be non-white, 30 white
  • 70 would be non-Christian, 30 would be Christian
  • 89 would be heterosexual, 11 homosexual
  • 59% of the entire world's wealth would be in the hands of only 6 people and all 6 would be citizens of the United States
  • 80 would live in substandard housing
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 1 would be near death, 1 would be near birth
  • 1 would have a college education
  • 1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for both acceptance and understanding becomes glaringly apparent.

I don't know who put all this data together and I seriously doubt that the breakdown is completely accurate, but I also don't think that's really that important. The point is that for many of us, in America at least, there is an attitude that we don't need to be sending aid to other countries of the world when we have homeless and hungry in our own country. We have people living in rat infested, cockroach laden apartments, yes. Even in buildings condemned by local governments. We even have homeless "towns" made from cardboard boxes under freeway overpasses or in subway tunnel tubes. But other countries have entire cities housing tens of thousands of people that are nothing but cardboard boxes and pieces of scrap metal. Cities that are built on garbage heaps, with children who live off the food they can scavenge there. What we in America consider substandard, those in other countries would consider a palace.

We Americans tend to take so much for granted. Not only our material possessions but our freedoms. We tend to forget that the white race, which is a majority in this country, is not the majority in the context of the world's population. We tend to forget that Christianity is not the religion followed by most of the world simply because the majority of people here are Christian. We take for granted that our government isn't going to come into our neighborhoods and gun down the entire neighborhood because they think that there are those plotting the overthrow of that government living there. We complain when gas prices rise, forgetting that we are paying about half of what the rest of the world pays for gasoline. We complain about the public school system, forgetting that most of the world does not have free public schooling. We waste food that people in other countries only dream of eating. We throw away clothes because the color fades, while those in other countries wear rags pulled from trash heaps.

Yet America controls more than half the wealth in the world and then many complain of spreading some of that wealth to others in need. Wealth we have stolen from many of these countries by using their cheap labor and natural resources in order to make a greater profit. We have overall become a nation of greedy, self-centered and wasteful people. The average American has life so much easier than the average citizen of the world. But there is only one world and we must wake up and realize that we cannot continue such a one-sided taking of the earth's and mankind's resources without completely upsetting the balance of nature. Now is the time to restore that balance by putting aside the barriers we have created between those of differing nationalities, races, ethnic heritages, religions, gender, orientations, physical appearances, socioeconomic status...the list is endless.

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