One Part Education, One Part Tolerance: Ending the Plague of Stereotypes We have sat for too long, and now that we are regressing rather than progressing, people have begun to stand up again because something is jeopardizing their well being, something within their own communities, something within the heart of the nation as people turn to hatred because their comfortable sheltered lives have been threatened. They have been beckoned to serve. There is no use talking about how we came to be in this state, though.
There is no use wondering what went wrong. How do we get out of it is the question?
Well, once upon a time there lived a man by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. He fought predominantly for voting rights and integration and exercised peaceful methods. King was by far an exemplary citizen; he only broke unjust laws. No, that statement was not meant to be ironic. By unjust, I mean he broke physical laws that did not match up with the moral laws of the universe.
In today’s chaotic climate where we are bombarded with images from the media depicting discrimination, stereotyping, stigmas, and social expectations, it is necessary to fight these adversaries through the employment of education, tolerance, and bravery.
Discrimination is not born by its own loins nor do stereotypes create themselves. In the words of H.G. Wells, “Our true nationality is mankind.” Meaning that we are all human. Why, then, does discrimination exist? If we are all created in His image or share 99% of the same DNA, what gives one person or group the right to believe they are superior or more deserving than any other? The answer to that rhetorical question is nothing of course, so we must learn, as Dr.
King so eloquently voiced in one of his speeches, to “live together as brothers or perish together as fools”
Stereotypes occur when people are grouped together. A group is judged based off the actions of at least one. Now, there is truth in a stereotype. I am black and I like watermelon, I know some smart Asians. And, I know some caucasians that cannot cook. Though, this does not give anyone the right to assume that these statements hold true for all blacks, Asians, or caucasians. What appears to have manifested throughout history, and leaked into the present, is that someone takes a stereotype and sticks it to a group, feeling that it gives them the right to discriminate against someone else because of what they have seen come true. It happens to me when I go to restaurants with friends and get bad service because they assume we will not tip. It happened to NBA player John Henson when he tried to buy a Rolex but instead the cops were called. It happens, and that needs to change.
Part of the solution is education; the other part is tolerance. To break down on stigmas, social expectations, and stereotypes which lead to discrimination, we need to be open to talking about things. If your leg is broken you do not just sit there and writhe in pain, so why are we just sitting here when men and women alike are afraid to walk the streets at night and store owners do not even want to open their doors to paying customers due to gun violence and racial profiling? The only thing I see is people acting out in panic, anger, and disorder. This only leads to bloodshed, allowing the feeling of fear to amass and set over the people until we get used to it. Because of this permeating fear the Syrians cannot come in; all Muslims are viewed as a threat to our society; a boy cannot bring his clock to school; a teen cannot walk home; a child cannot play with his toy gun. What can solve all this? What can offer a sense of protection when we are just children looking to our parents to tell us that there is no monster under our bed?
Except the monster is no foreign threat. We are the monsters, and we grow more and more into that character the longer we sit in silence, assuming it will go away. We need love. It was Dr. King who declared, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do it. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”. So we need to eradicate hate. We need to uplift each other, grow together as a people, become educated, and put an end to stereotypes. A change in mindset is what is needed. We are reverting to the past because kids do not want to learn their history and the full picture is not taught in classes. We need more strong willing men and women to lead this one. Education, honesty, loyalty are all the keys to our destiny. That starts at home and should be enforced in school. We must learn to tolerate one another’s differences, and be brave enough to step up when something is wrong. We need to continue King’s dream because it has been too long since injustice has been a threat to justice.