The Happiness Connection  

Colour-blind consciousness

On Christmas day, after my parents had been returned home and the kitchen cleaned, I collapsed on the couch and looked for something to entertain me.

I turned to Netflix.

As I browsed through the new shows, I saw Bridgerton. It caught my attention because my daughter had mentioned that she had seen previews for it. It had only been released that day, so I decided to see what it was like.

The story is based on a series of novels, set in regency England. I’ve never read a Harlequin romance, but this is what I imagine they’d be like.

When I plopped down on the sofa, I had no idea that I’d soon be receiving a final Christmas gift: an opportunity to learn something new.

It didn’t immediately feel like a gift because it was wrapped in niggly feelings of irritation.

As I watched the first episode of Bridgerton, I felt bothered by something I couldn’t immediately put my finger on.

I’m not sure how long it took to identify the source of this jarring feeling, but eventually it surfaced.

Regency England frowned upon racially mixed marriages, its nobility excluded people from African or Asian descent, and, to my knowledge, every queen of England has been Caucasian.

That isn’t the case in this production.

I have no problem with the colour of anyone's skin. It wasn’t the ethnicity of the actors that caused me an issue, it was an inability to get around what my brain perceived as historical inaccuracy.

I felt challenged to continue watching something that seemed to have got it so wrong.

Whenever you feel annoyed or irritated, you’re presented with a chance to discover something new about yourself or the world.

With this awareness, you can choose to swallow the red pill or the blue one – I recently watched The Matrix for the first time.

You can stand still by choosing to see stupidity or wrongness in whatever is irritating you, or you can investigate to find out why your brain seems to think there’s a problem.

This new television series was causing my brain to get its knickers in a twist.

I mentioned how I was feeling to my daughter. She was patient as she reminded me of a conversation we had had a few years back when the musical Hamilton first debuted.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show and played the lead role, decided the historical figures should be played by actors of colour.

This new way of casting a show was originally called colour-blind casting, but is now more commonly referred to as non-traditional or colour-conscious casting.

Gender, age, and other physical traits are considered less important than how suitable an actor is for a part. As a result, there may be a family with each person in it being portrayed by an actor from a different racial background.

It’s about the story, not the colour of an actor’s skin.

I was offered the gift of choosing a new perspective, although I had to unwrap and discard irritation before I could recognize it.

Rather than immediately thinking that whatever’s bothering you is the problem, take a breath, and examine the situation a little closer, or better yet, share your opinions with someone of a different generation. Get a new perspective.

The world changes, and if you aren’t willing to change with it, you’ll be left behind.

As I age, I don’t want to become old in my perspectives. The way to achieve that intention is to continue to accept new ideas and not judge based on my survival instinct telling me that new things can’t be trusted.

Was this series meant to be a good story, or an accurate portrayal of an historical event?

It was a beach read. The story wasn’t dependent on the racial background of any of the actors.

I feel like I’ve grown from this experience. My beliefs were challenged, and I had the opportunity to choose how I wanted to go forward.

If you’re a millennial, you may be mystified that this caused me even a moment of thought. Be mindful that not every generation is as quick to assimilate as you are.

Rather than hating things that seem jarring and wrong, stop to examine where your feelings are coming from.

Embracing new ideas is part of moving forward and loving your life.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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