Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hyphenating Individuals Divides The Country

Here's a sneak peak at my Collegian article that will run in the next few weeks:

Life is not fair. As much as we would like all aspects of the world to be fair in every sense, the reality is that the world is not fair, nor will it ever be. People in all walks of life have been blessed with various levels of skill, intelligence, talents, personalities and so on. We have a President and Congress now that feel everything in life needs to be distributed equally to create a government mandated, quasi-fairness. The reality is that no action of government can make everyone equal, because, by nature, none of us are the same. Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, status, or any other “category” someone can be thrown under.

Splitting people into different categories and defining their issues for them does not work to better the country; it ignores the fact that everyone within these groups each has their own individual issues and strengths. Putting people into these groups (African-American, Latin-American, women, men, gay, straight, etc.) creates a culture of divisiveness, allowing an environment where one can claim they are victimized. Assumptions are made about a person’s beliefs and their issues based on the category they fit into, telling individuals they are victims based on their category’s particular injustices, rather than raising up these individuals as talented human beings, not just a target voting bloc.

Many of you will say I’m being insensitive to the plights of these certain groups of people. That I just don’t get it. Let me put it this way: we have all been screwed over in some way or another. We have all been discriminated against, to various extents. How many of you were cut from the basketball team because of small-town politics, because you didn’t have the right last name? How does it feel being left-handed in a right-hand dominated world? How did it feel when your friend got off with a warning but you were stuck with a $100 speeding ticket? Life’s not fair. Rather than feel sorry for ourselves and complain, capitalize on your individual strengths as a human being and be the best you can be, moving past the injustices of life.

We live in a more diverse world than is implied with all the labels we put on groups of people. Diversity should not be defined by the amount of people you hang around that are of different “classifications” than you. Diversity should be defined as interacting and relying upon people with different strengths than yourself, which in turn helps you cover for your weaknesses as well.

The best thing we can do is recognize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on those strengths, avoiding victimizing of particular groups of people. Categorizing people only divides us, rather than uniting us as Americans. We are each unique, which can be seen as unfair…but what are you going to do about it? Complain that you were given the genes you have and be an unhappy, despondent person…or will you take life by the horns and be the best person you can be with the talents you were endowed with? The choice is yours.

Once we move past classifying people and capitalize on our individual talents, that is the point where we will become a truly tolerant, colorblind, genderless society that sees people for who they are, not for what they aren’t.

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