With the chaos that has ensued since the world started taking a turn for the worst, it’s important to remember that without unity, there is no way for anything to get better. Opposing groups call for everything from intolerance to even violence against those they disagree with. People that disregard human life shed blood without any justification.
We don’t need another war, we don’t need any more gunmen expressing their hatred and intolerance with violence, and we sure as hell don’t need to be shedding any more blood.
When communities work together to solve their conflicts and reach a common goal, goals are met and conditions improve. One of the greatest examples of this, at least in American history is the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. People of all different backgrounds came together and set aside their differences. They made strides in equality and broke down political and socio-economic boundaries by joining together to protest an injustice that had been plaguing America for decades if not centuries.
If we take this example and apply it to modern day issues, there is still a chance we can achieve our goals while maintaining a healthy and unified society. One of the biggest issues still, is knocking down stereotypes as well as perceived threats from groups that mean no harm. If tolerance as well as acceptance of diversity were taught to the coming generations, it would make life easier for all groups in a community.
When we form rigid barriers keeping us away from learning about people different than ourselves, we facilitate the fear that keeps us from doing so in the first place. If instead, we greet our neighbors and get to know them as the people that they truly are, we can get past the initial hesitance to accept them as equals. The problem is, many people are afraid to do so.
The fear that drives us all apart is that of the unknown, and even that of losing power and privilege. When one group fears another, to overcome that fear, it seems that one materializes that fear into prejudice and anger. With every stride in overcoming injustices, the groups with privilege see their overall power diminishing, and in a cutthroat world, the premise can be absolutely terrifying for some.
Yes, there is reasons psychologically that drive the intolerance and separation of groups, but not only is it this fear, it is the institutions that feed the flames when it comes to spreading that fear around. As a society made up of many different groups (at least in America), it becomes easier to control people when groups are pit against one another in search of stability and safety.
If the government scares you with the prospect of an immigrant coming to steal your job and take away your financial stability, will you not react in a hostile manner? How about when you have never met a Muslim in your life before, and you are told by the media (Fox News, ahem) that all of them are terrorists come to blow up your house? Won’t that scare the hell out of you when the Khan’s move in next door?
The issues isn’t with the growing number of different groups, it’s how we perceive them. This is what shapes the animosity between one group or another, and in turn threatens the overall health of a community. If we just look towards one another as equals, we reduce the likelihood that one group or the other responds to prejudice and fear with violence. With respect also comes the ability to look towards changing the social constructs that oppress, vilify and victimize an underprivileged group.
As citizens (or non-citizens) of this great big melting pot, it’s time to stop worrying about who you think your neighbors are, and time to start caring about the injustice that plagues everyone here. If we can’t get past ourselves, how do we expect to change any of the social or political constructs that are holding back our progress and success as human beings?
I don’t know about you, but if ever it came the time that another group needed my support to counteract an injustice, I would happily give them my hand and my respect. I know what it feels like to be isolated from a community for being different, and unjust laws apply to me and my friends all the time.
We’re more likely to get stopped at airports for random checks than your average Joe. We also happen to be part of a group that is marginalized because of our race and religion. You know why things only get worse? People fail to see me as an equal and without their support this crap continues, and I have no way of changing it without others to back me up.
Sure, you may not care now, as many people may not, but when injustices begin targeting every group in one way or another, will the populous finally understand that unity is key. Reminiscent of “Hangman” by Maurice Ogden, “Beneath the beam that blocked the sky, none had stood so alone as I – and the Hangman strapped me, and no voice there cried “Stay” for me in the empty square.”
Please don’t find yourself in the empty square. Speak out and speak up together.