Final Project Post 4

While thinking about what I could do to make a difference, and looking at it through the idea of this class, I realized that by doing exactly what I’m doing, sharing my experiences through blog posts, I can make a difference.

By having conversations with future educators about the need for teaching tolerance and acceptance, I can make a difference. By speaking up when people are making “jokes” at the expense of others, I can make a difference. This semester, I have learned about the wide reach social media can have if it used effectively. What I am hoping to continue is using my media reach in order to promote tolerance, and I hope that my reach can impact people, even if it is only just one person who is able to reach just one more person, because that is how larger-scale change happens.

If everyone was to make small changes in order to promote acceptance, in the words of President John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try”. We have seen the effects of people joining together to make change, this is how many of the social movements we have studied have begun, and it is up to the people our age to start these social movements and make the changes we want to happen.

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Final Project Post 2

As I sat a enjoying lunch with my friends this afternoon, as we do every Tuesday, I overheard the conversation of the table next to us, and while I am not usually one to eavesdrop, as soon as I heard them it was very hard to avert my attention from the group. It started with a single joke- if that’s what you want to call it, “Hey, do you know why can’t Mexicans play UNO?……Because they always take the green cards” and this one joke escalated into a full-on racist conversation…or as this group saw it, “a bunch of jokes”.

One after another, the jokes kept going. Anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-Black, and making fun of those with mental and physical handicaps. The more they talked, the more uncomfortable my friends and I got, and the more we wanted to say something. Do something. Anything to stop them. To stop this group of white (mostly male) college kids who were cracking themselves up, at the expense of every minority group.

And what did I do after listening to all of this?

Nothing. I wish I would have, and maybe if it was any other day I would have, but something kept me from walking up to them. It was a sad acceptance, but I knew that me saying something would not have changed this one person’s extremely narrow view of the world. While everything in me said go up to that table and say, “Hey, have you heard the one about the Privileged White Male?” I knew that there was more of a chance at the group lashing out at me (openly gay, openly Jewish woman) than there was of them apologizing and suddenly not being racist anymore.

In that moment, instead of asking how I could change this group of people’s narrow view of the word, I asked how my friends and I could make a difference on a larger scale. The friends that I had been eating lunch with that afternoon are both education majors, and we discussed how to start at a younger age to eliminate hate. Schools have started to promote diversity and tolerance, but its very hard to ingrain tolerance into the minds of children whose parents have taught them the opposite. But if we don’t attempt to make a difference, then change will never be possible.

Obviously I know racism and discrimination exist in the world. I am not trying to deny the fact that there are horribly uninformed people who do not accept anyone who is unlike them, but I have not had a lot of experience with these people.

 

 

Final Project Post 1

Today, as I sat in my 9:30am class, it struck me how much of an impact ignorance can have on a person or a group of people. This post is not looking to say that any person’s opinion is wrong, but instead to look at the impact that being aware (or not aware) can have on a person or a group of people, and pattern of ignorance is one that will continue to have  a resonating effect on people until people are willing to learn.

The lecture this morning in Political Science 227, International Conflict and Security, had to do with individual liberty and perceptions of freedom around the globe. One of the global issues we discussed focused on the current Refugee Crisis. Currently, there are millions of humans- because often that we forget that these atrocities are actually happening to people- who have left their home countries to seek asylum from dangerous conditions. With literally no other option other than staying and facing death, these people migrate to other countries that have not planned on letting in these huge numbers of people.

As we opened the discussion up to the class, I was left in disbelief as I listened to my peers talk about the situation in complete disregard for the lives of the millions of people whose lives were at risk. One student said, “I honestly don’t care about the humanitarian issue here, I blame the European countries for letting those people into their countries in the first place” as if these refugees were somehow a lesser class of people because of this.

Letting the initial comment go, the class began to discuss different possible alternatives to letting refugees into Europe. Another classmate said, “If The United States is so much more tolerant of different cultures, why don’t some of the refugees come here?” This comment was met with some very obvious dislike. A third student replied, “If those people want to come here then they should learn English and adopt American culture”. As I sat there, sinking further and further down into my chair, I realized that there are so many people who feel this same way.

The question we should be asking is not “how can I change one person’s mind?” because that is not often an easy feat to accomplish. Instead, the question we should be asking is “what can I do to help others to change the world?”