Society’s Adjectives

­­Hatred will always exist if people continue to insist upon categorizing others by means of superficial assumptions. Right now, it seems that skin-deep categorization is the norm by which mankind stays cohesive. We place ourselves in the standardized circles and numbers that denote our sex, orientation and ethnicity. This, for many, gives a sense of belonging. By alienating others outside of their own self-created world of physical homogeny, humans are bound together. These herds declare their struggles intertwined and thus assign their enemies the same skin color or religion or orientation or sex. This is how hatred is born: when our desperate need for acceptance finds us unaccepting of those outside of our own artificial clusters. So how do we fight something so widespread and deeply imbedded into our social systems? There is a way to acceptance that does not involve binding together with those who share your skin color or religion. It is not a way of hate. It is a concept so beautiful yet seemingly forgotten in today’s world – love and respect of the individual. See people as heir own entity entirely, their own weaknesses and strengths undetermined by their or their but rather by their own decisions. The ascension above hatred is a two-scale project. In order to love others for their selves, aside from generalizations, we must actively fight the desire to define our selves by our physical components. Realize that you are in control of how you act and who you are; science has not proven, nor do I suspect it ever will, that there are any significant, debilitating differences between various ethnicities. The same can be said about gender and sexual orientation. Aside from obvious biological differences, a man and a woman or an asexual and a bisexual can hold endless similarities. With these associations through internal value rather than external appearance, we can find love and acceptance in a much deeper sense. Allow yourself to consider the words “white” or “black” not on a basis of culture or experience or history, but purely on the basis of color – if that means skin color, so be it, but do not let the title penetrate you any deeper. This is not to say that cultures should go unappreciated. In fact, it is to say the converse; our cultures are beautiful and diverse and should be respected as each person’s unique opinions and beliefs. Each holds his own sub-culture within cultures, his own set of eyes, ears, and lips. Let’s celebrate that rather than reduce it to a statistic or a way to brand others in our minds. Hate is ugly. It is found when men choose the path of ignorance and apathy– when a girl associates a certain quality to all boys, even those several billion she has never met, or when a Christian brands all Muslims with one quality, or when an Asian believes Caucasians all hold certain traits. We have become more religion and sex and orientation and race-aware than ever before. Even in attempts to fight prejudice many times we only reinforce the notion that bonding together over external attributes is a good means for acceptance. We are fortunate enough to live on a campus of great diversity – diversity of the heart and of the mind. It is our duty, then, to take advantage of this opportunity to realize the range of passions that are often grouped under one convenient title in “the real world.” Being Jewish, or black, or straight, or a man defines you only as much as you let it. At PA, we should celebrate the diversity of our individuals. This is the only way to fight ignorance – through active interest in each individual as their own person. The hate letters sent to students at St. Paul’s were not sent because of personal issues with each individual. They were sent because of generalizations based on skin color. When students in Jena, Louisiana tell other students they cannot sit under a certain tree, it is not because the students hold particular grudges against the individuals they have alienated. This hatred stems not from individual distaste, but from these students’ need to bond through superficial means such as race, forming mentalities which require separation from those who do not fit the proper physical description. If we choose the path of independence from superficially-grounded and restrictive identities, we are actively fighting ignorance in all forms. The decision to see ourselves as free individuals, separate from society’s adjectives, is both the strongest and easiest choice to make. We have the power to become the generation that defines itself by each self. In order to create a greater sense of deeper belonging, we need not create more boxes, categories and walls. These barriers keep the individual out of the picture, when in fact it is the individual that should be celebrated. What the world needs now is love, lots of it, flowing from individual to individual, slowly but surely connecting the dots between all of us until we find all of ourselves safe and dry under one singular categorical umbrella: mankind.