This I Believe

Deborah - Sierra Vista, Arizona
Entered on May 14, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: tolerance

People today need to be more tolerant of one another and the differing views we have. Many people today, as well as in the past, are too quick to judge one another. They look at someone and think: they must belong to a gang, they are lazy, they are gay, but otherwise know absolutely nothing about the people of whom they are speaking.

In looking not only into our past and the past of other countries in our world, but also into more recent events around the world, look at all of the awful things that have occurred due to intolerance of one another. The massacre which occurred during The Holocaust in the not so distant past, as well as the massacres that are occurring today in Darfur and other places in Africa are just some of things to look at. I am absolutely appalled by the way people can treat one another just to become powerful or because someone is different. People ARE different. God made us that way. Our ways of life might be different, our religions might be different, and there may even be differences in our religions. But inside, we are not all so very different.

Look at the way people in our own community treat one another. They see someone with tattoos and piercings, or wearing a certain color clothing, and think they must be affiliated with a gang. They see someone who is Muslim and automatically ask themselves if they could be a terrorist. They look at a homeless person standing on the corner and automatically think they are lazy or don’t want to work. And they look at a person who may be single and not married and think . . . Well, I’m sure all sorts of varied things. None of these things are probably true, but nonetheless it’s what people think.

For me, I am just so absolutely grateful that I had parents who taught me that the color of a persons’ skin doesn’t matter, nor does where they live or what they do for a living. What matters is the type of person they are. In my life I have had friends who asked me why I hung around with certain people, how I could like to be with them? My reply has been to ask them why not? And I have been in the situation where I was pregnant and unmarried, and lost friends because of it. I know what it feels like to judged.

My parents tried to teach me not to jump to conclusions about people but to get to know them first. Have I ever jumped to conclusions? Sure I have. But I have on more than one occasion had to go back and later apologize for something I said or did because of it.

If we could all just learn to be a little more tolerant and not so judgmental of one another, this world would be a much happier and less violent place to live.