Prejudice Is On The Rise, Let's Stop It Before It Spreads

Prejudice Is On The Rise, Let's Stop It Before It Spreads

As citizens dismiss discrimination as an antiquated issue, discrimination backfires and intensifies.
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Humanity oftentimes mirrors the artlessness of nature. So, let me preface this commentary with a question: when a tree falls down during a storm, how do you address the colossal chaos? It is certainly an eye sore. It appears altered from when it was standing up right, for its bark is fractured and its branches are dismantled. Yet, the tree is still existent; it has not disappeared. In order to truly move the tree, to get rid of it, to dispatch it… one must uproot it. Otherwise, the roots will remain embedded in the soil, visible or not. The uprooting of this tree requires planning, labor, expense, and most likely, some sweat and back pain along the way.

Analogously, when a societal issue evades its position of attention, or falls away from media’s center stage, the issue did not unassumingly evaporate. Like the tree, the societal issue has simply shifted its structure or appearance. It is still present. Its roots stretch out beneath the ground, solidly anchored in the rich dirt, advancing deeper as time passes. In order to truly execute the social issue, uprooting is compulsory, and this uprooting entails unrelenting effort.

In our extremely multifaceted and polarized current state, I challenge you to think of the plethora of complex social issues pertaining to prejudice and discrimination as trees. These issues are not dead simply because the way they present themselves has shifted. Real, authentic “change” is not simply the transition of structures, nor is it a minor shift in behavior. Rather, when it comes to controversial social issues, “change” is the systemic uprooting of institutionalized concepts and social norms.

The tree can dispel the trending viewpoint that racism, sexism, and all the other “isms” have diminished substantially. While these issues have been identified, addressed and discussed, and awareness about them has heightened, they have certainly not been obliterated. In fact, the malicious roots that feed these power-hungry “isms” have only grown deeper and more threatening. From these vibrant roots, tress of hatred have cultivated, whether the tree’s exterior façade is evident or not.

Less than a century ago, an African American would be unable to eat at the same restaurant as I, based off the single fact that her skin did not match my sunburned, freckled and fair skin that I personally despise.

One hundred years ago, I, female, would be ineligible to vote for the President, for my opinion was considered untenable. Just decades ago, a brown skinned face would never reveal itself on an advertising billboard, nor would a woman of color be employed as a top runway model, nor a principle ballerina.

Just two years ago, gay marriage was deemed illegal by federal law, as detestation infiltrated too many American citizens’ intellects.

Compared to the past, prejudice and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and gender… have been greatly diminished, right? Over the past century, we have made so many positive and enlightening changes, right?

Wrong.

And wrong again.

While the inclination to debate discrimination and the quest for equality have both amplified, sustainable changes are lacking. The trees may have fallen, their leaves may have converted into a diverse color, the branches may have a new composition of moss. Yet, the roots of these issues are alive, growing continuously. These “changes” that are supposed to improve opportunity are not “changes,” at all because in many ways, they have not been sustained.

Downward mobility rates are on the rise. Successes for minority groups do not transgress from generation to generation. One instance of triumph does not transition to triumph for that individual’s child. These rare occasions of “change” are in fact, simply a transitory reformation. These instances are transient and short lived. They are leaves that blow away in the wind, as the roots of systematic issues and “isms” prevail arrogantly underneath the ground.

By claiming that society has wholeheartedly addressed the complexities of discrimination, we are ignoring the grim fact that discrimination, animosity, bias, stereotyping, and violent forms of intolerance have only been organizationally transformed. Their criminal roots are thriving prosperously.

It is our obligation to be socially aware and accountable for these transformations, and to exert the energy, sweat, and back pain that is needed to uproot them. WE set the parameters for the next generation to continue this uprooting, and to continue making authentic changes, rather than solely masking these antiquated matters that have disrupted society and destroyed the lives of far too many innocent human beings.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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4 Ways Clutter Is Negatively Affecting Your Health

Clutter affects your physical, emotional, and psychological health.

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If you're aware that your cluttered space is causing you stress and discomfort, it might be helpful to understand how and why clutter affects our health. When we clear our space we are more likely to feel at ease, relaxed, and tranquil. There is no better time to freshen your space than at the start of the new year when we are already setting new intentions and re-assessing goals and putting new ideas into motion.

1. Clutter produces dust and exacerbates allergies

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Have you ever gone through your closet or bookshelf, only to see the visible layers of dust and dirt that were hidden behind your items? Clutter gives dust and other environmental fibers a place to accumulate. If you find yourself sneezing, coughing, or tired and fatigued in your space, it might be time to de-clutter - your itchy eyes will thank you!

2. Lack of organization in your belongings leads to stress and anxiety

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I know I'm not the only one who has had the experience of needing an item before running out the door, only to realize it wasn't where you left it...and now you need to tear apart your entire room looking for it. Sound familiar? Having too much clutter leads to a disorganized space that provokes anxiety and stress and can have a strong, negative impact on your day to day life. Whoever came up with, "a place for everything and everything in its place" was definitely onto something.

3. Clutter puts your nervous system in overdrive

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Cluttered environments are taxing on the nervous system. The sensory overload prevents us from being able to relax and rest, and keeps us activated in our sympathetic nervous system, AKA "fight or flight". This means we're more likely to be on edge and hyper-aware than calm and relax when at home.

4. Living in a cluttered space impacts your mood and self-esteem

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Our brains thrive off of order and organization. When things are disordered and chaotic around us, it's natural to feel irritable and frustrated in response, lowering mood and reducing our self-esteem and self-worth. Rather than thinking about the things you want to get rid of when de-cluttering, focus on what things you want to keep and what you want to have in your immediate environment.

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