On Martin Luther King Jr. day, there is no better time to discuss the hatred in the world. There is so much of it and really, there always has been. Perhaps we know more about it now because we have access to 24-hour/7-day-a-week news and we hear everything almost as it happens. Although we do not see the outward displays of hatred that we used to see prior to the civil rights movement, people still privately share their views that a black person is "less than." We have laws now against racial discrimination so a boss is not likely to openly call a black employee the N word, but privately the hatred is still there (and sometimes it's there publicly despite the laws against some of these egregious behaviors). With the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks coming up this year, I am certain we will hear more and more hatred directed toward the Muslims.
It has to end and we all know it, but the first thing we need to do toward that end is recognize the basic fact that judging a person on an external characteristic is wrong. Wrong is such a basic word, but it is a powerful one. We all have to stand up and say "This is not OK. It is WRONG." When someone blames an entire religion for the acts of an extremist, when someone makes a racially charged joke, we have to be willing to say something. We all need to stand up for what is RIGHT even if we stand alone because we are all connected to one another in this world even though we often refuse to see that.
No one in this world is better than another. We are all human beings, we are brothers and sisters fighting to get through the difficulties and sharing the joys of being human. We need to recognize that a person is not an external factor - all black people are not criminals, everyone raised in a trailer park is not trash, all Muslims are not trying to kill those of a different religion or belief system. Put yourself in the shoes of a person who is being judged by an external characteristic. If you're a stay-at-home mom, how would you like it if someone said that all stay-at-home moms are lazy and do nothing all day, but watch TV and eat Bon Bons? If you're a parent who has chosen to home school, how would you like it if someone said you're a religious zealot and your kids are going to be poorly educated and socially backward? Would you like it if someone told you that you are an idiot because you don't have a college degree?
The character of a person should not be judged by the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, the way they decide to educate their children, where they grew up, or whether or not they decide to go to college. These are all external factors that do not a person make. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers sacrificed their lives so that we could all be judged by who we ARE not by the color of our skin or any other factor. We are all together in making this world a better place and the sacrifices of those who came before us should not be forgotten. They should spur us on to do our part in continuing their work. It matters and every time you stop a racial joke in its tracks, every time you refuse to judge someone based on their religion, every time you stand up for someone, you move a stone away from the mountain of hate. We can break down these walls...TOGETHER!