In light of recent events, there’ll be the ones who give their condolences and move on, there’ll be the ones who harbor that ugliness in their hearts, and then those who speak out against what happened.
Some people can be a combination of any of the two, but the reality of the matter is no one wants to be known along the line as the one who didn’t do anything. It may be hard to understand how someone so young could manifest any kind of political or social change, but it really just starts with our own community.
Even with all these new terms, recognition of all the “-phobics” and who’s considered a minority and who isn’t, there’s still a lot of work to do. Much of the hate we’ve witnessed has stemmed from ignorance, of tolerating intolerance. No one is born hating a certain group of people, it’s taught, either because it’s encouraged or because no one puts a stop to it.
Think back on one of the first times you ever saw a physically disabled person, for example. As a child who’s never seen someone so different, we’ve all probably said some funny yet really wrong things. A parent who dismisses comments like those, or even participates in the weird behavior around someone with a disability is creating ignorance in that child.
I think we need to recognize any flaws like this in our peers and be able to realize that what we say does has more power than we give it.
We don’t have to go around like social justice police patrolling what people say left and right, but if you hear someone use a hurtful slur or stereotype, try to talk to them.
Ask them if they know what they’re saying, the history behind those words or ideas, because a lot of hate starts small and snowballs into a problem too big to control.
Making a positive influence isn’t always spreading sunshine and rainbows, sometimes it’s just preventing someone, even if it’s yourself, from saying something unintentionally cruel.
Words are can divide or unite, so what will you choose?