We lump. We are lumpers. We lump people into categories and generalizations based on their race, ethnicity, religion, preferences, sexuality, gender, styles, and associations. What do I mean by “we”? “We” is society, headed by the mainstream media pushing division as an agenda. Unfortunately, it’s difficult not to join in on occasion. It’s just easier to lump folks together to make yourself feel not necessarily superior to others, but different in a better way. We are misled by a biased media into believing that we simply cannot live together in harmony. I find that ridiculous. I do.
I recently read some comments on Facebook about racism among our nation’s police offices. A “gentleman” posted the following; “I hate all cops and believe they treat all citizens like enemies.” Goodness. This is a little extreme, but I’ve been hearing similar statements like this for the past several months. Are some police officers truly racist? Absolutely. Do some police officers profile black and Hispanic men? I guarantee it. However, to assume the vast majority or even all officers are out looking for a good ole’ lynching is ludicrous. If you take every incident involving police brutality and poor decision making this year and look at the numbers, you’re talking about a percentage of officers involved in these situations so low that I’m not sure a number that small can be assigned to it. It is tiny. The mainstream media wants us to think that cops have been militarized nationally to the point of being unstoppable; in my county there is one police “tank” for the entire western region of the state. All cops are not bad. All cops are not racist. The vast majority of police officers are trying to do a very difficult job in troubling times while “we” watch and criticize every movement and decision.
We love to bash and lump Christians together. Love it. “We” think that most Christians literally hate homosexuals. “We” think that Christians believe without deviation that all homosexuals will suffer in the fires of hell. “We” label Christians as bigots, hypocrites, and my favorite; homophobes. I cannot begin to explain how unfair these descriptions are, yet they are prevalent throughout our current society. Of course there are Christians that believe this. Of course there are Christians that condemn and judge. But are they the majority? Absolutely not. Most Christians I have had the pleasure of knowing are peaceful, loving, understanding, non-judgmental, and giving. I think a lot of Christians are uncomfortable with homosexuality, but I’m not sure how that makes them insanely insensitive people. It is easy to lump everyone into one group, especially if a representative for that group has done you harm in some way.
With that said, “we” as a society do indeed lump homosexual people together as well, forming ideas that simply aren’t representative of all gay people. For example: all gay people are activists, all gay people hate Christians, all gay people want to have oral sex in public, all gay people go to strip clubs, all gay people cheat on their partners, and the list could go on and on. Most of these are ridiculously far-fetched. In fact, most gay folk just want to live the American dream same as anyone. Does this mean I’m a staunch supporter of gay rights? No, not necessarily. It does mean that whether you agree with homosexuality or not, you should treat all human beings with the respect and love that you yourself want and deserve. Period. I also know a lot of gay folk who are devout Christians. We are all in this together; we just happen to all be on different paths.
Society and the mainstream media help us to form opinions about all kinds of people. A lot of people believe that most white people have lived “privileged” lives, and that life in general is simply easier. And, in many cases it may seem that way currently since the majority of business owners and politicians are all white. However, if you follow anyone’s family tree far enough you’ll find slavery, abuse, and degradation. Have you ever read about the Irish first coming to America? They did not have it easy. Have you ever been to a meth induced trailer park in the hills? That’s poverty a lot of us don’t know about. Every person in this country has their own struggles and obstacles to overcome; even the white folks. Being white doesn’t shield anyone from death or misery.
Minorities (I hate that word), however, definitely have stereotypes that unfairly encapsulate them as well. When you see a Muslim on a plane what is the first thing you think of? I know what I’m thinking in the back of my brain. If our fears were true a lot more of us would be dead. Not every Muslim believes in death to the West; many of them are extremely appreciative of American culture.
When a female co-worker takes months off of work do you groan a little bit to yourself? A mother takes on an enormous physical and mental heartache that you will never understand unless you go through it. I will never truly understand it. That woman deserves our respect as a society.
Everyone knows black folk mostly sell drugs; roaming the streets unemployed waiting for some white kid to call them the “N” word so they can get offended. Unbelievably untrue. My closest black friends are too busy working, praying, and raising their families to worry about such things. In fact, I think black and white folk in this country have more in common than not.
I’m sure a lot of us have wondered about the legality of the Hispanic dishwasher working in the back, or the Hispanic family waiting in line at the urgent care. I know I have. It’s easy to assume immediately that they are illegal and you are paying for all of their food, housing, and healthcare. Hispanics are extremely family oriented and we all know they work very hard, regardless of their job or career. A lot of Hispanics are legit and simply want to do what the rest of us do; live the American dream. It would be tough to deal with the daily grind when a lot of people close to you don’t think you should even be here. That would be difficult for anyone.
It’s easy to assume that all priests mistreat our youth in a sexual manner, taking advantage of their authoritative position; but it simply isn’t true. During the priest scandal the Catholic Church took a beating; however, the number of priests involved didn’t even come close to 1% of all Catholic priests. Not even close.
We adore lumping people into political categories. It’s basically a fun game we all like to play. If you’re a republican or conservative, you obviously hate poor people and women and deny that the climate is changing. If you are a democrat or liberal, you believe in killing babies and stealing money from the rich. Are these true in certain instances? Absolutely. But when you assume that they are true for every case, you’ll find out how wrong you can actually be about another person.
It is easy to lump. We all do it, and if you don’t then congratulations; you are on your way to sainthood. As our politicians and mainstream media thrive daily to divide us, it is up to us as the people to remember that most of these prejudices and stereotypes fall short of any solid truths. Unfortunately, a lot of folks believe that the problems in this country can only be solved by politicians and other elected officials. Not true. It is literally up to us. Instead of viewing our fellow citizens as a member of a religious group or particular race, we have to start viewing them as individual human beings. Greed, arrogance, and ignorance don’t reside in us biologically; they are formed after birth. These things can infiltrate anyone in this country and this world; if we allow them to. That said; there is good and bad to be found in every category we form for people. Our bodies are simply just a cover for who we really are deep inside, and that cover can sometimes lead people to believe things about us that aren’t true.
So, let’s change it. No one is going to change how you perceive your neighbors; you have to do it yourself. But, if we could all take a minute to understand how rare truth is emitted from your television screen, we might begin to head down the right road. There is no utopia. There is no perfect system or perfect world. It doesn’t exist. Life will always be unfair and there is nothing to be done about that. You can change the way you treat and view people. You can change your daily attitude toward your fellow American, and possibly start a chain reaction that will continue to flow forever. Nothing said here today means you have to change who you are or start agreeing with issues that you disagree with. It simply means that we should respect each other for who we are, not who we are perceived to be.
The next time you feel a stereotype coming on inside of your brain, try to shut it down and listen to what is really going on. You might be surprised. You might open up a whole new world to yourself and your family you didn’t know existed. Let’s not allow any longer the lumping of our fellow citizens to divide us anymore. Let us stand together for peace, love, faith, and freedom. Most of us ache for these things, as we should. Be tolerant as much as possible to everyone; tolerance is without question a form of love.
Regardless of what we look like, we all have the same choice to make when we wake up in the morning. We can choose to be a good person; or not.