Please understand that this is a generalized article that does not target ANY race, nationality, or religion. This is simply an article of observation in present day America and is not intended to offend or point fingers. I believe in absolute equality and I am merely touching on an point that does not seem to be highlighted when talking about the issue of today’s forms of discrimination.

A characteristic that I feel very strongly about in the adult human being is responsibility. By that, I mean, people taking responsibility for their actions, their finances, their schedule, their children, their well-being, etc. A person is responsible for themselves and anything they create or do in this life. So, since when did Americans of all types start expecting sympathy for their mistakes, insecurities, and wrongdoings based on what they look like or where they come from? When did Americans stop taking responsibility for themselves and standing up for their individuality?

Racism in present day America is arguably the worst that it has been in 60 years. But are we really attacking the “why” behind this issue? No. Because citizens of all races are focusing on playing the victim of the various occurrences around the nation rather than reflecting on their actions as human beings. It’s becoming too easy to blame disrespect, arrests, financial dismay and class on the color of our skin. Consider the rising issues against police officers. While, yes, some of these instances can correctly be blamed on racism, many are simply the issues between a police officer and fugitive. Color of the skin need not be included. An officer’s job is to protect the community. Therefore, it is their job to arrest those who endanger the community. However, instead of taking responsibility for their illegal actions, the fugitives believe that they are being victimized based on skin color. Here’s a message, to all races and citizens, abide by the law. Thousands do it every day. If it’s broken, responsibility must be taken.

Also, consider the recent news in pop culture: Beyonce put on quite a show at the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. Frankly, she had an amazing performance. The woman has raw talent. While, yes, I understand the underlying message of the show, I also initially saw the number for what it was: a performance. Why is it that we must always put racism and discrimination into every aspect of present day America where it isn’t needed? We have to learn to accept and appreciate instead of assuming all instances are racially driven. Beyonce was not trying to offend her fellow Americans with that performance. So why must we assume that it was a dig to those who didn’t support her message?

It’s quite sad that when someone enters a room they automatically feel they are being judged for the way they look or speak. It’s an immediate assumption these days that there’s no exception for those who don’t fit the what is considered the “norm”. It’s not always the case that people don’t approve of someone’s appearance or background. More times than not, they’re simply curious or admiring the differences between themselves and someone of a different nationality, gender, race, sexuality or religion. And quite frankly, if they’re ignorant enough to judge or make negative conclusions, why listen? Why worry about what they think? Prejudice is created by those who are uneducated of the very vast world that we live in. Don’t sulk in their unqualified opinions. We need to stand up for who we are instead of assuming the world is against us. We are so quick to presume the worst. There are people out there who are genuinely interested in the uniqueness of their peers. Let them in. Let them get to know who you are and what makes you, you. Maybe if we would learn to put our walls down, we would realize that the world doesn’t only see color or hear an accent.

As a nation, we need to remember who we are as human beings. If we could erase all the different shades of our skin tones, do away with the differences between religions, and forget the stereotypes we’ve branded on those around us, what more would we be able to know about our neighbors, coworkers, and friends? How much stronger would we be if we took control of our own merit and claim responsibility for the things we do and do not believe in? We are not the targets in our own country or targets for the people around us. We aren’t victims if we don’t claim to be the victim. America is historically the strongest country in the world and admired by millions. We should live up to this name and be the accountable, capable, and accepting people that the world praises. As late president John F. Kennedy once said, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”