It’s easy to get caught up in the debate over white and black, blonde and brown, purple and green. We are all born into family and environmental prejudices that can be hard to overcome. Holding onto these opinions is a lot easier than learning and looking past. It’s also very easy to learn and than hold the new knowledge over those that cling to ignorance.
This post is prompted by a recent influx of White Lives Matter posts I’ve seen on facebook. The fact that we are still using skin color, race, age, religion, and economic status as a bases to judge the value of a life shows how far we have to go as a human race. With the availability of information out there on the historic and present conditions presented to each group, I’m appalled at our media for focusing on the emotional aspect instead of the facts and also at our responses.
I come from a family with many prejudices that have been handed down through multiple generations. Most of these are based on a lack of information, hearsay, and what was going on in the world for the generation that started them. As time passes, I’m witnessing a gradual withdrawal from these opinions and a shift towards greater acceptance. A lot of our families struggle with this comes from geography.
We are from North Dakota. This comes with many advantages; work ethic, community, family value. It also has some drawbacks the main one being a lack of cultural diversity. As our communities start to expand our understanding needs to expand with it, but a common theme is to brace for impact and resist. I’m trying to leave this theme behind but for some reason I can’t do it without kicking and screaming the whole way.
I am far from being above prejudices. Hearing past generations talk about different people has made it very hard to accept someone who is not like me. It’s also very hard for me to accept change. Most of the time I don’t even realize that my thoughts are intolerant. I’ve been blessed with an amazing friend that is not afraid to call me out on my backwards thinking and explain, through her experiences with a wider variety of cultures, why my thinking doesn’t make sense. This amazing woman has the ability to not only take in both sides of the equation but the ability to vocalize each of them. With her help I’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go.
I really feel that this constant division, brought on by movements focusing on one side of a problem, can not be resolved by continuing on the current course. In my mind the best answer is education for both sides. If you can’t see where another person is coming from it’s hard to move forward in a mutually accepted direction and this mentality of bringing people to one side or another has to stop, unless that side is the one that is for the whole human race.
Pick up a book about another culture, talk to someone from a different background, turn off the TV and experience for yourself the diversity in your community. This is a constant struggle and there is no such thing as to much knowledge. Continue to fight the urge to resist change and open your heart to embrace everyone. You do not need to change your core beliefs to be tolerant. And try to leave the judgment to whatever higher power you do believe in or just keep them to yourself.