What I don’t do is confront racist opinions or comments as I hear them. Often times I figure it’s not worth the hassle, or that my opinion won’t change theirs. Then it dawned on me, “Kayle, didn’t you yourself write an article stating that any big change in the world starts with one?” Well I seemed to have contradicted my opinion with my behavior, but now I’m here to change that. Perhaps I alone cannot change the views of the prejudiced, after all it appears that since the beginning of time man has fought because of petty differences. What I can do, and what I can try to convince you to do, is to step up. What would happen if we worked as a team?
Earlier in September, our mayor Don Iveson, along with his friend Jesse Lipscombe started a movement called #MakeItAwkward, encouraging us to voice our opinions of racial equality just as boisterous as those condemning it. It encouraged me to cease sitting idly by, and not only support their movement, but provide some more rationale towards it.
Is there a difference between a joke and a racial slur? Of course there is, and given our own context we can safely make a joke because we know the rationale behind it as well as the attitudes we hold towards a particular race. But what about everybody else, who may not necessarily know you’re up for the humanitarian award? Without context, without any background information, jokes can easily be taken as offensive and crude. Understandably so, there is a time and a place for these jokes, so we need to exercise caution when attempting to make racial humour. Be conscious of who you’re telling the joke to.
Let’s be honest, racists are pathetic. They need someone to blame for issues that arise, so they villainize an entire group of people. There certainly would be no purpose in making judgments about people on an individual basis, that would be way too much effort (sarcasm).
What if everyone were to be judged based on something our nationality has done in the past? Being that I’m of German descent, I must then be a Nazi. Someone could label me as an evil, murderous fascist without ever getting to know me despite my neutral feelings towards the Jewish race.
If Christians were to be categorized for their actions, they’d be in the same boat. Hundreds of years of mass slaughter and forced assimilation upon other cultures. What an incredibly evil, twisted group of people! We definitely shouldn’t allow those types ‘round these parts!
This is why generalizations simply do not work. For me to paint everyone in a certain group the same colour is the true atrocity. Every group of people will possess good and bad apples, such is life. I’ve met people from all walks of life who are incredibly kind and nurturing. I’ve also met assholes in those very same groups. I hate when these kind, loving people are categorized because of someone else’s heinous decision making.
Racism is the true cop out of a lazy mind. To not take the time to assess an individual on a case by case basis will have a negative effect on our society; and it has. I’ve never had to experience racism, so I should feel blessed. However, just because I haven’t endured it, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care; and I think the same goes for you.
This is not a movement. This is not a call to arms. This is one man asking you to do your part. It’s making others know they’re welcome and safe in our country. It’s giving EVERY human the right to dignity.
Go out of your way to ensure all individuals feel safe and welcomed. Make your judgments based on individual characteristics, not based on sweeping generalizations.