Growing up in a world with so many different cultures can be a beautiful thing. Being able to share experiences that are considered “normal” by different people is the usual in America, especially for millennials. However, with topics like racism, prejudice and discrimination rearing their ugly heads on occasion, it’s always hard to understand exactly why these things happen. Why people decide to go against the togetherness that has been strived for, for so long. Naturally, you’d want to help, right? From certain phrases to protesting, these are just simple ways to support the people in your life who may not be from your cultural background.
These conversations are not easy, and they won’t ever be until we take the steps to address issues. Be sure to understand what these issues are, how they affect communities and don’t be afraid to ask questions. More importantly, don’t be afraid to listen. If you don’t understand how the #BlackLivesMatter movement is truly benefitting anyone, ask. Let someone inform you how and why these things are necessary for the future.
Topics that often times come up in American culture have happened before. From prejudice in court rooms to records of police brutality, there are plenty of accounts to support, or deflect, the points that many movements are trying to make. Be sure that you know the truth, and are able to provide factual evidence instead of an incorrect opinion. This information goes beyond the textbooks and seeps out into real world situations. The popular topics of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin or the treatment of Muslim people can all be found on your own accord.
Knowledge is power, and if you’re willing to educate yourself, don’t be afraid to inform those around you. In the digital world we’re in, it’s easy to see memes, pictures and charts all formed with false or bias information. Ensure your peers can identify a reputable source and that the facts represented are true. If they are, be a part of the conversation. If they aren’t, say that they aren’t and show people honest reports. It’s much easier to have these conversations with actual evidence than to try convincing anyone with pure emotion.
With any marginalized group, it’s going to take more than just one kind of people to help. Be it Muslim, gay or Black, any minority group is going to need help bringing their issues to light. Understand that this is their fight and be the foundation for these issues to stand on. If you believe in equality strongly, don’t be afraid to show your support and promote your opinion on social media. However, be sure to always be respectful. There’s no need to aggressively try getting your point across. Supporting when you can is going to spread awareness more than arguing in comments with an anonymous stranger.
To be simple, it’s easiest to remember that no one can control the emotions of another. These topics can become very simple in the fact that those people can see themselves in a victim’s shoes. From police violence to domestic abuse, these stories can hit close to home and it’s easy to strike a nerve by saying the wrong thing. Pride yourself on listening to the stories and experiences from others as a real-life example of what’s happening, instead of using dismissive statements.
Being able to admit these truths too yourself is hard. When evidence is apparent, it’s best to truly comprehend what’s happening and how it’s going to effect people. In America, our rights and laws are readily available to us so we can know how we, as citizens, are supposed to be treated. Take advantage of the information at your disposal and be able to know when and what laws are broken when these issues become prevalent.
Sometimes the best example is a personal one. Being a loyal friend to someone who’s lifestyle or culture isn’t the same as yours can be challenging. Not knowing how to help can be as confusing as it is agitating for all parties involved. Being able to engage in these conversations and knowing what should and shouldn’t happen will help you make difference with people who matter most to you.
In a country with very opinionated demographics, as well as cultures and backgrounds, these issues are bound to spring up from time to time. Possessing the intellect and compassion to want to involve yourself will not only expose you to different people, but to cultures and perspectives that are usually disenfranchised. While current issues and topics require such help from so many people, this is all an effort to make sure that people of any color, lifestyle or religion will be able to enjoy each other in peace.