I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but here in America, we’re very divided. We’re divided on almost every situation and every argument. There’s also this duopoly: You’re either Democrat or Republican. (Even though there’s a bunch of different other parties out there. Did you know there’s a Marijuana party?) Then when you choose which party to register with, you’re seems as either a bad person, a good person, or someone just wasting a vote. You’re suddenly judged solely by the political party you’re associated with. That’s why people aren’t typically eager to say what they are in fear of instant judgement. Just like racism and sexism, we’re once again, putting people in categories. Not to say that this is all new, but as you get older, you’re more aware of these types of things. As an adult, I totally get the phrase, “ignorance is bliss.”
You know, some people claim to be loving and caring and accepting of others, but then those same people will shame someone based on one detail they know about that person. When you say you’re a loving and caring person, do you actually love and care for others? Do you accept others for who they are, even if they’re different from you?
If you think so, ask yourself these questions:
Are you willing to open up your mind to new ideas and new opinions?
Can you be friends with people who don’t have the same views as you?
Are you willing to understand the opposing argument and why people believe in something you don’t?
Can you sit down with someone and truly listen? Like, truly listen (i.e. you’re not already thinking about your response to rebut their opinion, before they can even finish their statement)?
If you’re a Democrat, can you refrain from getting instantly angry when you find out a friend, family member, or colleague is a Republican and vice versa?
As a person of color (POC), can you look at a Caucasian person and not instantly think they’re your enemy, and as a Caucasian person, can you look at a POC and not feel threatened?
Here’s a hard one: When you hear that someone voted for Trump, are you willing to hear them out and not instantly believe they are racist, sexist bigots?
The reason why I’m asking these questions is because we’re in the middle of complete chaos in this country. We have COVID-19, the protests, and it’s also election year. However, there’s a lot of people who are spreading more hate, when what we need more than ever in this world is love. People are devaluing people’s lives based on their political belief, their gender, their orientation, their race, their income, and even their age! Obviously, the list doesn’t end there.
An example of this is the whole coronavirus “argument”. People have literally said that it’s not that big of a deal because it’s only killing old people. I’m sorry, what?! My friend once asked, “Do people not have parents or grandparents they care about?” Apparently, an older person’s life isn’t as valuable as a younger person’s life. I don’t know about you, but I most definitely don’t want my mom to die. I’m definitely not going to be like, “Oh well! She was old.” (Not saying my mom is super old or anything. Sorry, mom! Heh…)
Writing about this, I remember this incident during the Me Too movement. It was amazing to see women feeling empowered to expose those who have hurt them, but there was a moment of complete disgust and anger when Terry Crews came out that someone sexually assaulted him. Because he was a man (a large muscular man, in fact), he was mocked and not taken seriously. It's sad, because again, we’re devaluing a person’s life based on the fact that he is a guy. It’s creating this assumption that when men are sexually assaulted, it doesn’t really matter or it’s not that serious. Apparently, men can’t be victims of sexual assault. Regardless of your gender, sexual assault is sexual assault. You shouldn’t be treated lesser of a person because you’re not part of the major group who are typically victims of these assaults. Your hurt, your experience, your everything is still valid because You. Are. Human.
In this fight against racism, people are saying hateful things against white people and that to me is just fighting racism with more racism. People are legitimately deeming an entire race as racist for being racist against another race. Just read that sentence and let it sink in for a second. Does that even make sense? Why do we devalue another group of people’s lives when they too can’t choose the color of their skin? That’s again, putting a group of people into one category and deeming them all bad, which is what led to this whole mess in the first place! It’s going to be this constant back and forth until all sides realize that plain and simple, we’re all human. The value of our life doesn’t solely depend on our skin color or, as I listed earlier, our gender, our age, our orientation, etc. The goal is for everyone to realize that all human life is valuable. You don’t have to like someone or agree with their views to be able to coincide together. We don’t have to be friends or best buddies; we just have to be able to accept our differences and carry on with our lives.
We’re not going to win this fight if we keep using hate to combat hate. I think people forget that POCs aren’t asking to be treated better than others or to be placed above others. They are simply being asked to be treated equally, which is really what everyone wants, right? The want to be treated equally isn’t just about race. There are numerous movements and activist groups throughout history fighting for the same thing. The motto really should be, learn about me before you label me.
I guess this would all be easier to think about if we didn’t think in terms of adults. Let’s take a step back and just think about babies. Let’s all think about those squishy little blobs of cuteness. Is it fair for us colored people to deem that beautiful, innocent, white baby as racist? Is it also fair for us women to deem that male baby as sexist? Is it fair at all to put any type of label on any baby, based on the little we know about them? Why is that different the older they get? I understand that people want others to have a taste of their own medicine, but is that what we want to teach our future generations how to treat people? Treat others how you want to be treated, right? Everyone knows about the golden rule. If we don’t want others to judge us based on some little detail they know about us, why should we do that to others?
I’m going reiterate it again, I hate, yes, I’m going to use the word hate, when someone judges another person based on one detail they know about them. Let’s go back to the Trump supporter. Yes, I know that it was probably hard for you to even say Trump in your head but hear me out. Again, I’m going to say hate. I hate when someone says, well that person is a Trump supporter, so their opinions don’t matter. Or when someone does something wrong, they’ll say something like well they must be a Trump supporter. That’s still putting a group of people in a single category and placing a label on them and saying they’re all the same. I’m not saying I’m a Trump supporter. I’m just saying that I hate that people automatically think someone’s complete set of values are invalid because they voted for him. When you found out someone voted for him, did you even bother to ask why? Or did you just jump to conclusions and decided to slap a label on that person? Just because you’re a registered Republican, doesn’t mean you believe everything Republicans believe in. I know Republicans who are Pro-Choice and I know Democrats who are Pro-Life. When you register with a specific political party, it just means that majority of your beliefs align with that party. It is totally okay to not believe everything your party believes in. It is not, however, okay to think all Republicans and Democrats are all the same.
The main gist of this article is that if you are going to say you’re a loving and caring person, if you’re going to say that you accept others for their differences, if you’re going to say you want to fight for equal and fair treatment, if you’re going to say the human life is valuable, then you need to do more than just say it. You need to act like it too. Don’t say you accept others and then turn around and place people in a group and slap a label on them. We’re all fighting for equal treatment. We all want to be treated fairly. We all want to live in harmony. We all want to wake up and not worry about whether how we look or what we believe in will result in harm and hate towards us.
Throughout this whole article, I kept saying we, because I’m guilty of saying hateful things. I’m guilty of categorizing a group of people and judging them. I'm guilty of not accepting others. We all do it. It’s how the human brain works. We place things in categories because it’s a self-defense mechanism. Animals work the same way. However, the difference between us and animals, is that we can determine if that’s a valid judgement. We have the ability to change our minds. We have the ability to learn and grow. We have the ability to decide how we treat people. I’m going to try every day to learn about someone before I label them. I’m going to refrain from saying hateful things towards a group of people. No matter the group. I’m going to work on being a genuinely loving and caring person.
This is going to sound corny, but what are you doing to spread love and not hate? Let me know what you think in the comments below.