Touch on the shoulder can imply multiple things in terms of relationship; friendship, affection, trust, or hierarchy. This touch is not solely discerned by personal experience but it’s heavily bound by the invisible social contract. It means our body usually knows what we are doing but we don’t really think about it every time our body makes a move.
A set of earphone and music is a good tool to analyse the language of the body with. One day I was observing the room. People come and go minding the business. There was one person, person A, who would insist on the idea that he works and serves for the local people who are always his priority. A used to say it out loud so that everyone knows his mission as a foreigner and what good person he is. I’m not even going to talk about how condescending the idea is. Wait, okay. I’m going to talk about it. The main reason A would serve for the local people, specifically, is because he came here to help them. Meaning the local people need his help. Only because they’re economically poor in comparative manner even, he automatically thinks that they need his help. And what’s the help? It’s sympathy, not even economic benefits. That’s what is wrong.
Back to the story, A used to make this body gesture to the “local people”. He would make some joke and laugh himself, then gently tucks his hand on other’s shoulder and taps once or twice. That’s an approval. That’s the ‘good job, buddy’ approval from the boss, which would be done usually towards younger people or lower position. Most “local people” in this place is old. So imagine the hierarchy.
I think a person should be just a person. We people just have so much fun labelling other people with certain groups, we almost forget that we are the same people. African, black, local people, all those words blind our eyes and keep us from seeing them as a person. Some people are irresponsible, some are boring, some are slow, some are kind, and some can be annoying. That’s not because they’re the “local people”. That’s because that’s who they are. I would yell at irresponsible people. I would hate boring people. I would be impatient with slow people. That’s because they’re irresponsible, boring, and slow in universal term. I would do that in any country no matter where I go. Because my standard shouldn’t change depending on skin colour or economic background.
So A needs to stop playing the god and get himself some truth pill, instead.