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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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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The Rejuvenating Qualities Of Panama City Beach

There are definitely some healing properties in these ocean waves.

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We have gone to the beach quite a few times this summer season. We live around 2 hours away and try to make it to Panama City Beach at least once a week. It's a venture for sure, but compared to the 7-day drive from The Rockies of Colorado to the Peanut Capital of the World, Dothan, Alabama (a time in which no one has heard of) we can't really make any excuses.

Now, I am sitting here typing away in the early morning while watching a summer storm blow in over the sea but, make no doubt about it, the ocean and its shores are one of the most healing, rejuvenating places on this planet. There is a calm in the break of the waves on the shoreline, and yet it pairs with an unspoken knowledge that the ocean is this uncontrollable force.

This isn't a speech on saving the planet and being eco-friendly, recycling and watching out for our beaches, which is a topic I am very passionate about and a post I would totally create. This is simply an open letter to those who might need to get away in order to revive their souls.

If you are anything like me, you have emotions pulsing through you at all times, ideas about everything under the sun, a longing to explore and adventure, and a deep need for rest, all at the same time. There are not many things in this world that truly satisfy me. There is a lot of disappointment. There is a lot of wrongdoing and suffering. It's overwhelming.

That is why I come to the beach. It removes the overwhelming things.

You see, there is nothing complicated about the waves (unless you make it complicated, but we stay away from people like you). They are simple. They are peaceful. And 99% of the time in my life that is what I need, simplicity and peace. I over-complicate things myself, I make excuses and I feel hurt in most moments of my life. I lived an exposed, vulnerable lifestyle that drains me.

That is why I love the ocean. It replenishes my drained soul. It energizes me. It is motivating and inspiring, relaxing and unwinding.

I don't pass out advice. I never have. I do, however, try living an honest life, always in the moment, so I can share my experiences in hopes that others might find them helpful. That is precisely why I am writing this. Because if you could just get to the beach, to a shoreline, it might change you. Seeing this vast landscape changes your perspective on the situations in your life you thought might overtake you.

The ocean speaks. It heals. It tells your worries to cease and your mind to rest. It tells your body to relax and your busy schedule that there IS time to take a moment. Don't forget to take a moment for yourself this summer season.

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