Being different in the home of the brave and the land of the free seems so ideal doesn’t it? The whole idea of being accepted into what most of us are led to believe is a big, bold melting pot of cultures, languages and ideas.
That all sounds very nice but it’s come to my attention as I’ve gotten older that sometimes a person or a group of people just aren’t welcome in the land I call my home.
Being of a different religion, and showing my beliefs clearly with the way I dress and the with my opinions, I see that some people just don’t accept me and those of my background. As I grow up and face more and more situations where I’m faced with strangers who are taught to be prejudiced against my ‘kind’, I see that America just isn’t as ideal as we’re taught to believe. I get stared at and questioned, sometimes I get called terrible things because somebody who happened to have a similar background ruined the name of people like me.
I’m not the only one to face such prejudices however, many groups are stigmatized and stereotyped because of the actions of a few. Some of us cannot even stand up for our rights without facing aggression because somebody more priveliged than us thought we didn’t deserve to go against the grain and demand equality.
Just look at what’s happening in Ferguson, or how we treat the people who happen to share the same ethnicity as many illegal immigrants. The ‘random’ searches at airports, and the stop and frisk searches by police.
What needs to happen isn’t happening. We’re throwing issues of prejudice under the rug. Progress is slow or completely stagnant. Blunt discrimination has transformed into subtle hints of prejudice.
We need to teach our kids that they should accept and celebrate differences. We need to address these situations in which stigmatized groups suffer financially and politically as a result of the priveliged running society. We can’t shy away from seeing the prejudice in our laws and socially acceptable norms. If we run away from our problems, if we tell ourselves that we’ve already gotten past the era of segregation and hate crimes, then we as a society are doomed to deteriorate.
America needs to stand for the same principles it based this nation off of, a nation that would accept others and prosper. A nation that wanted equality for every man and women regardless of race or religion.
What we need is acceptance, for that is what will destroy prejudice.