Coca-Cola sure knew what it was doing back in 1971.
Too bad we aren’t all singing on hilltops together today.
I really don’t like assumptions and stereotypes. Unfortunately, though, we have been seeing a lot of this lately. Then it leads to others making additional assumptions and stereotypes about the individuals who made the original assumptions and stereotypes. It’s this never-ending cycle that only leads to more hate.
And hate is the last thing we need more of in this world.
We’ve seen a lot of this exposed in the media lately, especially with policemen. I mean, I will admit that in the past my friends and I have joked about how police are the “mean” ones, and the firemen are the “cute” ones. But I’ve never actually thought police are bad people—it’s actually the opposite. I can’t imagine the stresses and pressures they have to deal with on a daily basis, nor do I want to face such anxiety regularly. And I don’t think it’s fair to stereotype all people in this profession.
Or for any reason.
I remember when the attacks on September 11 happened, shortly after there was a lot of prejudice against Muslims in our country. One of my best friends all through childhood and those awkward teenage years was Muslim, and I really didn’t like hearing people say comments against people of that religion. She didn’t like it, either. While what happened on that day was a horrible act of terrorism, it didn’t mean that every single person in a similar category as the attackers was a terrorist.
Assumptions and stereotypes don’t allow you to get to know a person. Instead, you already have these preconceived notions that hinder you from seeing what’s in front of you. This doesn’t mean you should be blind to people who actually might be out to wrong you, but it does mean that you shouldn’t judge someone simply because he or she has been labeled or categorized unjustly.
I’m from a wealthy suburb, but I’ve never lived in a huge house, and I’m not rich; I was once a sports reporter, but I never wanted to be “the next Erin Andrews”; I’m 30 and single, but I’m not constantly on the lookout for a husband—I’m content with being single forever if that’s what I’m supposed to be; I’m from Texas, but I don’t have a horse; I’m a runner, but I don’t run a marathon every day (you’d be surprised how often I hear that one); I have red hair, and I have a soul; I’m a woman, but I hate chocolate and flowers.
Those are just a handful of assumptions I’ve heard people make about me throughout my life, and they are nothing compared to some of the hateful assumptions and stereotypes that many others face constantly. I know we don’t live in a perfect world, and people are always going to find ways to criticize others, but why? Why do we have to treat other people as if they are below us just because we think we know “truths” about them?
In some ways, I wish more people thought like little kids. If you’ve ever seen little kids on a playground together, they don’t question skin color or parents’ occupations or house sizes or anything. They just play and enjoy each other’s company. They get lost in their own little worlds where hate and judgment don’t exist and don’t get in the way of forming genuine relationships. I love the purity and innocence before the world gets a hold of them and tries to change their minds.
And you can only hope it won’t change their hearts.
There are certainly evil people in this world, and there are those who make bad decisions and represent something bigger in a bad way. But not everyone who is somehow likened to those individuals is guilty of the same things. When you close off your mind and only use such a narrow vision, you close off part of your heart, as well.
All people are valued. All people are loved. And all people matter.
And it’s time they knew it.