Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where people of all races, religions, and sexual persuasions could coexist together without prejudice? That’s a nice dream to have. Unfortunately, it’s still only a dream. Humankind makes very slow progress in accepting individuals for who they are instead of what they are.
There are as many prejudices in our society as there are traits in an individual. John Myers, a writer for Yahoo Associated Content, put it very eloquently in his article, National Coming Out Day: An Opportunity for Gays to Break Down Prejudice Once and for All. This article touches not only on prejudice towards the Gay community, but also about prejudice in general.
What difference does it make what a person is? We were all put on this earth together. Our differences should be celebrated, because without those differences this would be a very dull, sanitary, scary place. It would be like living in Stepford. If you’re a good, honest, loyal person, I would want you as a friend in my life. I wouldn’t care what your color or sexual preference might be. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who don’t think the same way.
The problem then becomes how do you change people to be more accepting? That’s a big job. There is a lot of fear that drives a person’s feelings towards different groups. Can we as decent human beings change other people’s perceptions? I’d like to think so, but it’s not an easy thing to do.
It starts with one person saying to themselves that they will start to be more tolerant of other human beings. That one person would need to commit themselves to speaking up whenever they encounter discrimination, trying to teach others that the prejudices being exhibited are not right, teaching our children to tolerate all types of people, and that we don’t make fun of or abuse anyone. You don’t have to agree with a person’s lifestyle, but you do need to respect and have tolerance for the individual. You have to recognize the individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to our Declaration of Independence these are the sovereign rights of an individual. These are the precepts under which our nation was formed.
We will never be able to completely change the world, but we can make a difference if we stand up for what we believe in. John Myers stood up for his beliefs and he does it every day. That’s an example we should all follow.
It all starts with one person. Let that person be you.