If you watch the news, or believe that the way people are portrayed in the media is the way most of them really are, then: All Italians must be crooked and in the mob, all Blacks are thugs, all Irish are drunks, all police officers are bad, all English people are uptight and worried about class, all Muslims are hell bent on killing us and taking over, all Jewish people care about is money, all Christians want to take away our reproductive rights, all Californians are high and gay, all Democrats want to take away everyone’s guns, all Republicans have lost their moral compass…I could go on and on.
Clearly, none of that is true, and if you are one someone who chooses to believe the worst of any group of people, then shame on you for not looking deeper. Shame on you for believing and sharing every stupid video you see that shows the ugliest side of people without verifying its veracity first. Shame on you for being so dead set in your bigotry that you won’t take a step out of your comfort zone to look deeper, or give a group a second or third chance. Really, I’m so sick of it. Please stop.
It’s simply wrong to paint everyone with the same brush.
When I was a teenager, a friend’s father told me my dad was the only Italian he ever liked. It stung. I honestly thought, How sad, he must not know very many Italians. I knew lots of them and most of them were lovely people, just like in any group. Sure, there are stinkers in any nationality, religion, political party, if you choose to focus on them, but why would you? Why poison yourself like that?
It certainly can’t make for a better night’s sleep if you think most people suck. If most people sucked there would be lawlessness everywhere and there isn’t.
But there are some out there, without a conscience, who don’t care who they hurt with their words or actions. They’re the people who tag along with well meaning protesters, then break windows, loot and start fires. Or the man who must have wanted to rile people up by posing as a member of Black Lives Matter (he wasn’t) and posting a video of himself telling a white woman to kneel before him and apologize for her white privilege.
That woman wanted to help. But now she’s probably alienated. And it’s a good bet that all the white people who already hated blacks just because they’re black, now hate them more.
Know what will help the cause? Next time you’re in any group where some slur comes up about another group, have the guts to say something. Don’t just stand there and chuckle. The chucklers and the people who don’t have the guts to speak up are part of the reason we still have bigotry. Because we’ve put up with it, they’re emboldened to repeat their ugliness again and again, and spread their poison to others.
I know that seems like a small thing to do. Please feel free to do more. But change doesn’t usually happen in giant waves, it happens a little at a time. It takes years, centuries even, but it does happen if we all work for it.
That famous quote by Edmund Burke is more apt today than ever: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (or women) to do nothing. Please, let’s all do something because I have far too many black friends to believe for a second that most of them are anything but good.