I had a compelling conversation today with a dear friend.
We discussed the violence and blatant racism that is all too frequent in the world. I believe that prejudice is a learned behavior and that it is up to each of us to accept or reject any belief or action that contradicts what we feel to be right. I’m deliberate in my use of the word “accept” as opposed to “tolerate.” I mean, who just wants to be tolerated? We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are.
And I believe everyone deserves that.
I have never been afraid to share my opinions with my close friends and family members. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am extremely progressive in my views. I believe in equality in all its forms and I advocate equal rights and fair treatment for all. But I am not always vocal publicly, and I know that many times silence can be seen as compliance.
And I am not complacent.
Racism is a very real problem. I see it often. It leads to more hatred and more misunderstanding that manifest in deadly violence. The lack of love and empathy by a few people have powerful and long-lasting effects. Any hate crime, no matter the targeted victim, affects us all. None of us is safe from the fallout.
Hatred only leads to more hatred.
I try to step back during dark times. I try to listen to the voices that aren’t speaking. The world has always been filled with people spreading malice with their actions and their words. But there are also the silent people who do not agree. The silence can speak volumes and be a true source of comfort. But the silence can also be interpreted as support.
It’s hard to tell sometimes.
I do not have any answers. I can only speak for myself. I am only responsible for my own words and actions. All I can do it speak out against ignorance and violence so that those affected will know that I stand with them against unjust hatred. I am an optimist. I can’t help it. It’s the way I choose to be. I believe in the greater good.
And I always will.
Greg Wilkey writes youth fiction and is best know for his Mortimer Drake series. Find him on Facebook
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