Thanksgiving. For some, a modern holiday where families get together to eat a whole lot of food. For others, a remider of history’s less forgiving moments. Speaking of, at this very moment we’re living what very possibly could be remembered as one of history’s less forgiving moments. Sometimes we can learn from those that came before us without repeating their mistakes. Our world is messed up and now many voices are calling for change – but change starts with ourselves. We have to choose to look at all race related problems with compassion – the roles could very easily have been reversed and things would be no different.
For many of us youth, all we know of the world is what we see from television and the internet, both sometimes find it easier to depend on stereotypes to get a story across in a short amount of time. It makes it seem normal and accepted when you see a teenager pointing a gun at a member of an opposing gang somewhere in a run-down city. It makes the studious teenager who has a plan to open his own business seem like a bizarre departure from normalcy.
Stereotypes are always wrong. They don’t fit everybody and not everybody fits them. So we have to ask the studio executives to choose to buy creative content that defies stereotypes and breaks the status quo rules. That’s why I love the new Annie movie. May it be the first of many shows that give the studio executives reason to choose alternative stars for their shows. Boys will watch shows that star girl characters, girls will watch shows that star boy characters, Caucasians will watch shows that star African-American or Latin American or Asian American characters, just as all people of colors have watched shows staring Caucasian characters. When television shows us how normal it is for people to defy stereotypes, we will no longer need them around to label people.
We do have a very good example about how to initiate change: non-violence. We have seen how often violence derails the conversation and vengeance takes center stage and makes all parties resistant to calling a truce as they can only see red. “If only we had been more violent …” “If only we had killed thousands as opposed to hundreds …” “If only we had burnt down hundreds of businesses as opposed to dozens …” “… then we would have taken our rights / been given our rights more quickly!” Said no one, ever. History shows us that the more violently some people push for a change, the longer it took for that change to actually occur.
We do have problems with the police, but the best way to deal with problems is not to counter violence with violence. It might look good on television, but it’s a really bad idea to play out in real life. We should, as much as it depends upon us, live by obeying the law as much as humanly possible. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you break the law it is only a matter of time before you are caught, therefore it is in your best interest to not run from the law. All actions have consequences, so we should learn to choose actions that have the least harmful consequences possible. If all of us are non-violent and respectful, soon there won’t be a need for so many policemen and women patrolling the streets. There won’t be a need for guns in the hands of youth. They will have no reason to fear for their lives and act in haste, nor will the people they serve. That can only be a good environment in which to raise the next generation.
Please be peaceful. We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence, I want you to love your enemies… for what we are doing is right, what we are doing is just — and God is with us; At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. – Mahatma Gandhi