If there is one thing I've learned about people and society, it's that discrimination is still prominent despite what everyone may believe. I cannot wrap my mind around the reasoning people have for continuously making racial slurs, sexist remarks, and nasty cuts against sexuality choices. I am embarrassed to admit that I have several people around me who cannot get past this way of thinking. How can people NOT understand how important it is for us all to get past our differences and just get along? I am going to make sure my children are able to accept diversity and not judge people based on appearances.
I feel so offended when someone is bad mouthing an entire race or group of people different than themselves for no reason at all. First of all, you cannot judge one person based on stereotypes. No single person is the same as the next person in their racial/gender/age group. I have so many friends (some really close) who are Mexican, Japanese, Black, White, Heterosexual, Homosexual, etc. They do not all fit into the same "White/Heterosexual" category that I fit within. Big Deal. Just because someone's skin is not the same exact color as mine does not mean I have the right to bash them to make myself feel better about XXX. Why would anyone even want the entire human population to look and act the same? That would just be boring. My point is not to segregate everyone's differences though. I want to demonstrate that just because two people look entirely different doesn't mean they aren't similar minded or that they cannot get along. The point is that race (or any other prejudiced reasoning) is an irrelevant factor in determining how you should interact with a person.
- Example: One of my best friends from elementary school is Mexican. I didn't even know she was Mexican until several years down the road. Race was not the deciding factor of our friendship. It was completely irrelevant. While on a road trip with her and another friend, I got to meet some of her Spanish-speaking, extended family and enjoy a traditional Mexican dinner with them. (Delicious fajitas, prepared differently than I'd have made them...) Even though she was born in the United States, her family is of the Mexican heritage. If I would have discriminated against her in the past, I would not have had the honor of her friendship and presence in my wedding party.
- Example: Another of my elementary friends is African American. I played with her all the time during school recess. When I reflect back on this time period I do not think "Oh, when I was in elementary school, I played with one white girl and one black girl." It just doesn't come out like that. I think of how great our friendship was and how much fun I had talking and playing with her. I do not think about her race because once again, that was irrelevant.
Discriminating against people on the grounds of race, age, sexuality, race or anything is just plain wrong. How long will we have to keep engraving this into the minds of people and children before it will actually stick? As parents, you set the example. You are showing your children how to interact with people on a day to day basis. Every time you make an offensive joke about this group of people or make huge negative generalizations about this group, your children are listening and learning from your bad examples. We want to raise children to accept diversity! Why?
- Example: There are schools in close proximity to me that end each day with a huge fight between the Mexicans and the African Americans. Race is the only reason for this battle. And since these kids who are fighting are mainly under the age of 18, how do you think they learned to hate the other race? PARENTING. I'm sure there are cases where the students just learned to hate each other at school but if parents would take responsibility, they could help improve the situation.
I hear people blabbering on all the time about nothing. These comments that I've heard (from people close to me) written below clearly explain my reasoning for writing this article.
- "It is a serious sin to be gay. Demons are making them that way. I don't know what to do but I pray God will help them or else they are probably going to Hell."
- "I don't think it is right for two people of different races to make babies. You can date them but I think it's wrong if you decide to have children together."
- "I don't think you should live in these apartments because there are nig*** children playing outside."
- "I don't care what he has to say because he is gay."
- "Don't you feel uncomfortable around her? ...like she's always checking you out?"
- "They are dirty..."
These comments are just ridiculous and completely unacceptable. If anyone reading catches themselves thinking or speaking things like this, do society a favor and take the time to figure out why you are reacting this way. Make friends with people in your community. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people you make such rash stereotypes against. Chances are that if you just take the time to have an open minded conversation with someone you dislike for this reason or that, you will realize that they are just as human as you and now you have a new friend.
Discrimination is a complete disregard towards someone's basic human rights. It can lead to bullying, self-hatred, violent retaliation, exclusion from jobs, schools, social groups all around, and much, much more. It is emotionally devastating for someone to find out they are not good enough for something they cannot change. This really makes me feel sad when I think about those around me who take part in such crimes of prejudice. How can people around me feel so compelled to hate those different than themselves? Even though it sounds like I am referring to awful people, it could be someone that attends church and dearly loves his friends and family.
I'm going to reiterate the fact that you as parents are responsible for your children's view on diversity. Your actions will become their lessons. Set good examples. You may not feel like you discriminate against people for one reason or another but if you segregate yourself, how can your child learn that it is okay to socialize and respect people of a different race, culture, or sexuality? Show them.
Comments are welcomed.