Probably the most disgusting things I see in this world all end in -ism: racism and ethnocentrism, sexism, and extremism. In my ideal world, none of these things would exist. But, lets face it, we are nowhere near this ideal. We must strive toward it, nonetheless. We must all want to shed our ignorance. Unfortunately, some people pretend to like being ignorant.
All of these -isms I have just mentioned are socially constructed falsehoods about the world that we live in. Race doesn’t actually exist, no one ethnic group is superior to another, no sex is superior, no extremism serves a virtuous purpose. We live in a time when we have more than ever been able to witness the brutality that these -isms bring, and have brought, to this world. We are intelligent beings; capable of growth and understanding. We should all know and accept that playing along with people who espouse these -isms does no one any service.
In fact, when we choose to embrace a racist, for example by listening to a racist joke, we are responsible for perpetuating racism as much as the joke teller; especially if we tell one as well. But, this is not about ignorant jokes; it is about willingly choosing to be ignorant human beings. Acting in this way does not change the world in any positive way.
While it is sometimes hard to stand up to thugs, bullies, and lowlifes, sometimes taking advantage of their ignorant moments to teach them how they are wrong can put a good seed within them. Change can happen. It does happen. People can learn. People do change. It is not an easy project, because people have to be willing to learn. Next time someone tells a racist joke, tell them you are not impressed that they willingly choose to be so ignorant. Heck, make a point of showing a documentary on Martin Luther King Jr. next time the person comes over. Next time you hear someone ranting about how the west is better than the east, call them on it–then show a film like Gandhi when they least expect it. Next time you see a man or woman talk badly about the opposite sex, name a few people that do not meet their stereotype. As for the extremist, maybe steer clear for now since they can get violent to try to prove their point (even though being violent does just the opposite). Find out how to reach the person, send them a copy of Schindler’s List and show them where extremism leads.
One of the problems pegging many societies down is a lack of good teachers. In this situation, I think we have enough good teachers but not enough of them teaching the difference between right and wrong. Unless those that have woken up to smell the 21st don’t make some coffee for the rest of the household, they might just sleep all day. Wake up, make some coffee and stick it under their noses until they drink it. We should all be wide awake by now.
~Justin Allen Philcox