Accepting Our Differences

Seeing certain videos of how people treat others, particularly people who are different from them, when they don’t know cameras are rolling make me embarrassed for the human race.  I’m talking about ones where a man gets repeatedly harassed just walking through NYC dressed in bright colors and carrying a shopping bag to imply he is gay and doesn’t even talk to anyone, let alone do anything to provoke anyone.  I’ve seen several where people pretend to be a homeless person or someone of the opposite sex or any number of different situations.  The disrespectful, mean, and hateful things people say and do are appalling.  I understand that people have different beliefs, political views, and so on, but that does not give anyone the right to be so mean and hurtful, especially when someone is not doing anything but walking by you.

I’m all for having a respectful discussion about politics or religion or anything else people may disagree on, but that’s where it needs to end.  Making fun of someone because they are gay or have a different skin color or religious belief is not going to make them change or go away.  It just breeds animosity and makes people feel even more like they need to defend themselves or their position.  Telling someone who considers themselves to be an atheist that 9/11 was their fault because they don’t believe in God is not only not a very Christian thing to say but also makes that person question the idea of religion even more.  That person is now thinking that if believing in God is going to prompt you to say such hurtful things, then he doesn’t want to be any part of it.

Unfortunately, the go-to response and mentality for so many people seems to be when someone is different from you somehow, you make fun of them either behind their back or to their face.  I think a lot of that is just a giant chain reaction.  Someone gets picked on because they are different, so they turn around and pick on the next person who is different from them.  And then consciously or subconsciously, that person feels that somehow makes them a better or stronger person.

That’s the real issue in my mind.  Some people don’t know how to make themselves feel good without making others feel bad about themselves.  And too many people don’t feel good about themselves in the first place for a variety of reasons.  It’s too bad we live in a society where cooperation and helping others succeed is not valued as much as making a name for yourself and succeeding personally, which I somewhat address in a previous post called “Competition vs. Cooperation” and then again in “Being Humble.” And it’s too bad we can’t just accept people for who they are, as long as they are not hurting us or anyone else.

Instead of labeling people according to their race, religion, sexual preference, political viewpoints, and so on, I think we should consider just two categories: whether someone has good character traits, values, and morals or whether they don’t. Everything else shouldn’t matter.  And I wish everyone could be more focused on accepting others’ differences and helping others and themselves be the best person they can be, rather than be so quick to put others down.  I know that sounds pretty idealistic and unattainable, but one can only hope.

If you have any thoughts to share on this topic, please feel free to click on “Leave a Comment” below the title to this post.  You can easily read any or all previous posts by clicking on the “Home” page tab and scrolling through the topics, or you can search by clicking on a category or tag word or by using the search box to the left.

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