Let's Stop Focusing on Race

Let's Stop Focusing on Race

Because it is about so much more.
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It's time we stop playing the race game. It's time we stop labeling each other white or black, but instead as Americans. We need to learn to actually get over the past. At what point do we actually choose to leave the past behind us? At what point do we say, "I forgive you", even though every human being alive today has nothing to do with slavery. If this were the case, why aren't we still criticizing the Germans for their attempted extermination of the Jewish people that happened less than 80 years ago? People condemn the American flag for symbolizing slavery when we were one of the first countries to get rid of slavery entirely, even with countries today still participating in such acts. India and Chine are the top two countries that still have millions forced into labor and considered property. India has over six times more slaves than China, making it the country with the highest percentage of its population being slaves.

The movement for social acceptance of every race, religion, and culture is systematically flawed. Movements like Black Lives Matter, the huge women's march that took place right after Trump's inauguration, and basically all anti-Trump rallies parade behind a false narrative that we can all get along with no war, no financial burdens and no social contingencies. Such movements lack factual evidence where such mentalities have led to a perfect society, and the answer to that is none. Before Obama's presidency, the ideas of white privilege, gay marriage, refugee acceptance, and women's rights (even though there is no right that a man has that a woman doesn't have) were never seen as an importance. They were not seen as a necessity for society to operate efficiently. But during Obama's terms as president, it now seems that the utmost importance for America is not to maintain an effective foreign policy but to embrace all religions regardless of what they think of western culture. Not to create a competitive business environment, but instead, focus on accepting those who may be disenfranchised by society not taking into account of how that may hurt a business. Not to move on from our historically evil past of slavery, but to keep digressing by bringing it up as some form of justification of racist acts. Not to take advantage of a free market, but to constantly remind ourselves that others are not given such opportunities and we should therefore be ashamed of ourselves for having such opportunities. Seeing how such a perspective can be such a setback to advances in society, we need to learn that not everyone gets what they want, and just because I, a white male, got into college and is pursing a career DOES NOT mean I do not care for the black individual who does not have such an opportunity. Instead of simply focusing on that, we need to focus on the betterment of society and learn why people of all ethnicities reach rock bottom. Yes, some of it is because of our system, but most of the time, it is the personal choices we have made that led us to were we are or are going to be.

To play off the famous words of renowned television channel MTV, dear black people, learn that no one is special for their skin tone, and that America is the best chance you've got. Realize there is a problem within the black community when black children are born out of wedlock by upwards of 64 percent. Compare that to only 18percent for white children. Blacks also disproportionately commit over 50 percent of the nation's crimes. Learn and understand the problems within black culture before accusing whites for being the problem. Do not degrade and demonize a nation that allowed you to get an education, pursue a career, have a family, and even become president. Yes, you are a minority. That does not mean you are disenfranchised solely on that basis. Do not succumb to the liberal notion that since you are black, you are automatically at a disadvantage. Prove them wrong. and show them you are not held to a lower standard of living as they seem to assume. This should infuriate you. This should entice you to go above and beyond your ancestors, but most importantly, it should teach to, seriously, get over it.

Cover Image Credit: 1839 Mag

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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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