When it comes to discrimination and intolerance, mankind has been focused on the wrong aspect of this issue for far too long. I understand, discrimination is a complex issue. There is a history before us which we assimilate into our ideology, and then pass along to our children. We learn from our family’s, as well as our culture’s, fear and anger, and we take it on as our own. We were not born with it, we were taught to this think this way… yet, let me ask – do we ever stop to think if we actually agree with this line of thinking? Because we were taught, it also means we can unlearn it and educate ourselves about other belief systems which more closely resemble who we are. If we do not make this effort, the suffering will only continue to be perpetrated.
We need to break the cycle, and we need to do it together.
For the sake of your children, the world’s people, generations to come, and yourself, stop and figure out what causes you to feel this fear and anger, and instead of reacting to those emotions, analyze them with a problem-solving cap on. For one, let’s not judge a person until we know them enough to make an accurate assessment about their true character, which means that first impressions are obsolete. Let me share another, broader thought to get you started…
It is not about black versus white, it’s not even about which gender is marrying which, or about who is Jewish and who is Muslim, and it’s definitely not about which immigrants are moving into our country.
I am here to tell you – it is about none of that.
I believe there is one sole distinction which we should use to decipher if we like another person or not, a clear delineation which will assist us in fairly deciding how we truly feel about a person, and that is: are they a good person or are they not. This means you need to look past what clothes they wear, language they speak, or passport they carry, and instead take a moment to talk to them, understand who they are and the values they hold… are they similar to yours? It may surprise you – you are more alike than you know. Give it a chance to find out. You may just learn something about them, the world… and yourself.
And don’t just take it from me, think about the most quintessential theme in nearly every movie ever made. They are all ultimately about…
Good versus Bad.
We want to see the good guys win, right? We root for them. It doesn’t matter what the bad guys look like: whether they are a white man, the Green Goblin, a brown woman, blue Electro, or a black handicapped person. We don’t care – we want to see the bad guys go down and the good guys obtain justice, then watch as they ride off into their happy ending.
So why isn’t this true in real life?
Even though we have differences of opinion about what is right and wrong and who is good and bad, I believe if you look close enough, you will find a rather clear distinction about what constitutes a ‘good’ person. Let’s take a closer look using the following films:
Every Super Hero movie ever made: They fight for the preservation of the good at a detrimental risk to themselves. They do not discriminate who they help, whether it be a cat, a runaway train with a diverse crowd, or even their enemy. They attempt to save everyone, because they know, deep down, we are all suffering and everyone deserves a second chance – unless pure evil warrants them to be thrown off the building or into a fiery cauldron, of course.
Oskar Schindler: He knew the deranged mindset of Hitler and his misguided followers were wrong. Oskar risked everything to save the very people he was suppose to murder, even though those people who were purported as an ‘inferior race’. He bravely went against his own people to do what he knew was good and right, which surely meant his own death. The largest sacrifice of all. But it wasn’t enough for him, he carries the burden of knowing many more lives could have been spared if only he had traded in more of his treasured belongings for their souls. How many wealthy people can learn from his lesson? I speak specifically to the richest 5% of our country when I say this – How much money is enough? When will the time some when you can say: I have enough houses, cars, and treasures now, I can finally consume less in order to spare profound suffering from those in need?
Robin Hood: He stole from the rich to provide for the poor. He was a man who fought for the underdog, for those who were unable to fight for themselves. No matter who they were, every decent person in need was the recipient of his generosity. Remember this when the rich are getting wealthier off our efforts, loss and sacrifice. In a time when economic inequality is at an all-time high, keep in mind that we should ‘fight poverty, not the poor’. Our source of frustration has been become displaced. Do not disparage the courageous ones who fight for a higher wage or condemn the single mother who works three jobs to support the kids she never gets to see. Direct your protest instead toward those who are suppressing your wages and fraudulently creating laws who only support the rich. Fight against the true injustice, not your brothers and sisters in arms who are all fighting for a better and more fair life. Follow Jens Rushing’s lead and tap into the Robin Hood in you.
And then there’s the ultimate real-life super man:
Pope Francis: The voice of the people around the world, aka the People’s Pope. He would rather eat with the homeless than dine extravagantly with our Senate. This is but one small example of his true intention – he is powerful man who is not about power and riches. He is about spreading his compassion to those who really need it and combating the pervasive injustice in the world. He welcomes all those who were shunned by the church, and of course he should – we are a human family and we all deserve love. A Higher Spirit like God wouldn’t be selective about which of his own children he loved, so neither should Catholics, and neither should us. Pope Francis is paving the way to spread this radical thought, which path will you choose? It is your choice to feel the elation and lightheartedness that begets love and shed the baggage of hate and fear which is weighing you down. Or you can stand cemented in your hardened and limited beliefs and lead a life which will only bring more suffering to yourself and those around you. Pause before you make a decision and remember- whatever you think, you DO have a choice… just because someone taught you to think a certain way, no matter how ingrained they are, your thoughts are your own to change. You are in control.
Choose to take the right path and make the good decision, even when people aren’t looking. If you live by the motto do the right thing, you will never sway off course.
Let’s look at it another way, from the rosy colored glasses worn exclusively when looking at celebrities. I never did, nor will I ever, understand how people can celebrate and idolize famous abusers such as boxer Floyd Mayweather and NFL player Michael Vick, then turn around and ridicule non-celebrity people who have done nothing besides just looking different, like this poor woman whose sole crime was walking down a street not looking as pretty as others. How can the pendulum be so extreme? People who clearly do bad deeds are exonerated when others are judged more harshly just because one don’t like how they look or because they are not in the public spotlight. I venture to guess this poor woman is a much more decent and a better person than the other two. If so, then how can our society be so skewed? This case is blatantly a black and white issue – how can everyone not see this to be so?
There are a lot of answers to this question and one that I will delve into at a later time, but for now, let’s each do our part and try to make people feel good, not bad, and ultimately figure out why we bully, discriminate, judge, crucify, and exclude people.
In most cases, it is because one does not love thyself.
If you are not already there, then what is it going to take for you to join the forces of good and transform from Lex Luther, who fights against humanity, into Batman who saves the world?
Let’s start with this thought. You can choose to root for the child with Celebral Palsy struggling to finish a race or you can stand on the sidelines and trip him as he goes by. What kind of person are you? Know that your answer is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself – do you feel love or pain within yourself? Know that your pain has nothing to do with this boy or any person you direct your misery towards. It has everything to do with you, and you will never feel better as long as you continue to cast your agony upon others… you only succeed in proliferating your torment, inside and outside. No matter who you are, life is difficult for those who suffer, why make it worse for them… and for yourself?
Instead, try rooting for the silent heroes who do everything in their power to combat the abuse and judgement they undeservingly endure. They have no real weapons, nor do they wear capes, but many try to defend themselves in any way they can. They are the ones who should be admired, not marked with a bulls-eye as one to defeat. Take this one step further and JOIN THEM in speaking out, and band together in breaking the cycle. Stand up and add our voices to theirs so we can be heard louder and farther. As one, let’s stand up and fight the bullies who attempt to strip us of our light and pull us into their darkness. Once we’ve done this, then let’s work to transform the bad guys into good ones, for the bullies suffer too and need our strength and compassion.
And please, for the love of humanity, stop building up the pedestals of those who beat others down (I’m looking at you Trump). They are not to be admired, they are to be admonished and their celebrity platform crumbled to the ground for the harm they cause. They are not above us, nor do they contribute positively to our society, so STOP contributing to their fame. Think of our children, is this who you want them to look up to?
We need to believe that the Good will always win out in the end, or else, the bad guys will commandeer us. If the movies do not let them hijack their world, how can we? If you are with me then strap on those tights and adorn that mask – wear it proudly in public or under your clothes. However you choose to cloak your warrior spirit, just make it your mission, whether big or small, to never stop fighting to taking out the bad guy’s ammunition while flying leaps and bounds to save the good guys… I have a feeling if you do, you will also save yourself.
It is the intention of this site is to create more love and less hate, so in order to protect the sanctity of this forum, I ask you to respect my judgment-free zone where everyone can safely share without worry of criticism. I welcome all productive and positive contributions to this open forum, in any way you wish to accomplish this.