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The Equality Initiative: Being Kind
I recently had to write a paper for a class about a belief of mine. For some reason it took me a while to come up with one, but when I did, the words flowed out of me like water. Unfortunately, that essay is too long to post here, but I would like to give the general synopsis of it here and encourage you to provide feedback and to take these words to heart.
I live and have always lived in the south, I went to church and was taught compassion at a young age. Since then, I try to incorporate consideration and respect into everything that I do. Our world today has a very different view. People are scorned and belittled for their religions, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, and ideology. We have become blind to the people around us and only worry about the jokes we pose around the table. We laugh and carry on at another person's expense. What you say around the dinner table may be harmless (in that you are not going to act on it), but it encourages the actions of the people who do blatantly discriminate and practice prejudice. It is sad how common-place it has become for us to make jokes that are prejudice. It is a social norm, even if you don't do it, you probably do know someone who does.
So my idea is this, simple as it may be, do not tolerate it. Do not idly sit back while people joke and carry on inappropriately. Encourage originality, don't force people to hide who they are. But in all that you do have respect, because you cannot fight hate with hate.
So be kind to a random stranger on the street or that person that gets bullied. Pick up trash on the sidewalk or buy a student coffee. Encourage and inspire, because you don't know how much it could mean to a person struggling with bullies. And always keep an open mind. That should be no issue to the people on TED, but also encourage people around you to do the same.
We need to begin to look as people as people who have their own hopes and dreams deserve to be able to reach for them without fear of attack.