America is a warzone. It’s not the first time I’ve been ashamed of my nationality and I‘m sure it’s not the last. I’m sitting halfway across the world scrolling through my facebook feed, and reading posts ranging from anger, confusion and disbelief to desolation. I felt all of these as I read the perspectives of friends and family on an unfathomable situation. What scares me the most is seeing the expected, but disheartening division that instantly comes after these types of situations. I see it within my own friends and family, and I know that it is indicative of the division within my country. I feel helpless. I know nothing I say or do is going to stop the divide and fear between people. Even the best-intentioned people are trained to subconsciously fear and judge those who are not the same as them. It’s our media, our educational system and our history. You are kidding yourself if you believe we are in a post-racial society. The truth is that we never will be. You have to look at the historical context of our nation.
The best we can hope for is to work toward a world in which we all see other’s humanity first and foremost. We must value life, and realize that we are all going through this human experience together. My plea to anyone who hears it is this: strive to show compassion to your fellow humans. It does no good to hate the ignorant and prejudiced people of this world. In fact, it keeps us just as far from the peace and unity that we desire. The only thing that will move us forward is building relationships and educating one another. When we have those glimpses into the humanity of others, and see that underneath our melanin (or lack thereof) we are more alike then different, we take the human race forward.
Make friends who are different then you, and realize their existence is as worthy as yours. Listen to people, value their experience and perspective and be willing to share your own. Above all, realize that your views and beliefs can be fluid. Don’t place your truth above others, but instead strive to find common ground. I find that it is hard to get angry at people for having polar opposite beliefs when you can see what leads them to think that way.
There are people who hold political or cultural values that I find to be damaging to society, and yet I don’t judge them or hate them for it. Instead, I see how their human experience has led them to take those beliefs as truth. As I grow older, I can only hope to find ways to combat those thought processes, and positively affect society, and each person I come into contact with. Unfortunately, as a multiracial man, I have found myself stereotyped, judged, categorized, and feared. That is my reality.
Listen to those who are different from you. Realize that their reality is as real as yours. Don’t judge and don’t condemn. Strive to find a common ground, and realize that we are all apart of the human race before any other. I beg you to show compassion to your fellow humans, and to strive to understand their experience and reality.