In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death coupled with the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict him the country has been in an uproar. This tragedy has brought to the forefront a number of major issues regarding the role of law enforcement, race relations and other differences that exist within our society. These issues are not new, however they still require a more in-depth analysis, reflection, discussion and of course action.
All of us have been affected to some degree whether we have direct connections to Ferguson or not. The strong views which are soaring across social media platforms surrounding what occurred during the murder and how the investigation was handled have set society back a fifty years. The only way peace can be achieved within our communities, cultures and livelihoods is by conquering the fear which forbids one to embrace diversity.
Everyone has their own views on the broad issue of race as it relates to the riots and civil unrest permeating the nation. It is important that educational facilities, parents and child advocates began now to educate our youth as well as adult communities on ways to bridge the areas of diversity such as culture, skin color, religious and political beliefs these gaps have caused. There needs to be safe environments for mutual understanding, civil discourse and respectful dialogue to take place.
At times, people will need to master the art of “agreeing to disagree” in order to come together and embrace obvious differences. This is achieved by listening to the views of others, educating ourselves and harnessing personal beliefs in order to reflect on someone else’s. This is the only way for the healing to begin. To value diversity is to respect human worth; it is the energy that brings to life our colorful world.
It is so easy to belittle another person by choosing to live in a bubble and putting forth little no effort to understand their lifestyle, values and beliefs. This mentality breeds intolerance and waters the seeds of prejudice. By learning to appreciate that people are different while recognizing the existing similarities Americans can overcome walls of division. It is okay to value individual beliefs and heritages while respecting someone else’s. Without allowing others the freedom of a differing opinion, peace will never be realized.
The human race is diverse in many ways such as ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, race, philosophy, class and lifestyle. However, at the basic level of our existence we are all of the same human species. We all experience good and bad times while aiming for a fulfilled, successful and happy life. The oxymoron of diversity is differences make us unique but the commonalities bring us together.
The tragic death of unarmed Michael Brown may have caused outdated societal issues to resurface. However, by accepting and understanding people from all walks of life we can reverse the curse and allow the opportunity for peace. Conquering the fear of embracing diversity is mandatory in order to make the world a place where we can all live freely. Do not be so quick to judge another, instead practice empathy and try envisioning life in someone else’s shoes before you treat them unfairly or attempt to impose your limited beliefs into their world.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)