"If we let skin be the most defining factor of a body, then we're going to miss out on everything else that body has to offer us--from its brain, to its heart, to its soul. We'll miss out on the privilege of knowing and loving some pretty amazing people, people we might come to discover are ‘our kind of people’ after all."
- Kimball Stroud
It seems as though our segregated lands are moving at a snail’s pace towards diversity. Why is it so hard for people to see themselves in others? There once was a time when we were a bit more accepting of each other despite our differences. Or at least it seemed like it in the 70’s. It's like things were getting better and more culturally diverse. But now it's…what it is. We've journeyed far, far away from that reality (if it ever existed). Whether they’re of a different race, width, height, or gender, why can’t we comprehend that everyone isn’t supposed to be like us?
We let our differences hinder one another. Patience and understanding is harder to find than rare Pokémon. Whatever happened to putting yourself in someone else’s shoes or trying to see both sides of a situation? We’re quick to talk but extremely slow to listen. We keep letting our brusque opinions and "better judgment" get in the way of some much needed compassion.
Our society has been segregated for far too long. People are slowly being forced out of certain communities at this very moment (lookup gentrification). The same thing happened with Seneca Village and many other forgotten neighborhoods. Denial and fear of the unknown won’t make the problems go away. Oh and ignorance. That’s the #1 factor.
How can you want more for your country and ignore certain parts of it? How can you expect a change and ignore the places that need it most? You’re not even willing to see/hear/listen to other points of view. Remember: this country without any of its minorities would be a dull one. There are things that “we the people” could solve on our own if we just worked together. But that’s asking too much.
Stop giving up on one another. I know it’s hard but we should retire all stereotypes. That way when we pass someone on the street we’re less likely to have expectations or automatic judgments of them. We need to support each other. Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone to make a difference? We are secretly afraid of one another and put on this tough bravado to mask our fears in hopes that we’ll leave each other alone.
Don't judge a book by its cover. A common, yet overlooked saying. Stop excluding others because they’re different from you. Don't let ignorance stunt your growth. Insert any other quote you can think of that everyone knows but no one listens to. We should be learning from the actions of our ancestors instead of following in their footsteps when it comes to hate & segregation. Your spirit becomes small and dull when you're filled with animosity, anger, and ignorance.
The same way they say your plate should be colorful is the way you should keep your friends; cultural. We have to be willing to get to know one another. Deep conversations, sharing experiences and truth, opening ourselves to new possibilities. Knowing people from different backgrounds will stretch you as an individual. I promise that you will never be the ultimate You when you’re surrounded by a bunch of like minded people. Which is probably why so many of us feel stagnant.
Try having a conversation with someone who looks nothing like you. If you do this often you'll realize that not everyone in a certain "category" will be the same. The stereotypes no longer fit. You may even make a lifelong friend and get to know yourself a bit better. Open yourself up. I can’t say that enough. It may be awkward at first but it’s progress.
You will encounter rude people, racism, douchebaggery, jerks; a little bit of everything. Don't let the bad outweigh the good. Remember, it's not how they react to you but how you receive them. Some people may be having bad days so it may be slightly off-putting. Like I said, don’t let it leave a negative effect on you.
We all share this earth with one another. This land isn’t owned by you or me no matter how much we pay for it. So what will we leave behind once we’re gone?