The debate on diversity

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NYC action in solidarity with Ferguson. Mo, encouraging a boycott of Black Friday Consumerism.

Lara Pavlick

With recent controversial events in American society placing a spotlight on racism, many people are examining what individuals can do to improve these situations for everyone involved.
Imagine a world where after years and years of fighting for equal treatment for all people, tensions once again rise and the same group of people who are discriminated against are faced with extreme prejudice and even violence. This, in any situation, should be considered a very shameful mistake in human history and we are meant to learn from it, to ensure it never occurs again. However, this mistake is still repeating itself, even in 2016.
Why is racism still occurring? Many people will ask this question, even the reader at this moment may be asking themselves: Is it really oppression or are we just drawing too much attention to the issue, therefore making it seem prevalent in society? The real answer is that we are the ones responsible. It’s all around us, every single day.
One of the most well-known movements of our time is “Black Lives Matter.” It stems from the tragic events in which African American males were shot and killed or assaulted and arrested by police officers. Many grew outraged at such senseless acts of violence when they had no cause to believe the boys would attack in any way.
Of course, people may be quick to say: Why do we need a movement for one group? Don’t all lives matter? This is absolutely true. All lives most certainly do matter, in equal value. This means that these lives that are seen as less important or are pre-judged harshly to the point of death must be honored/advocated for in a greater way. The movement not only honors those that have been unjustly killed, but also fights for freedom and justice of all blacks.
No matter what skin tone one happens to be, this is a matter of human compassion, not human entitlement and privilege. When lives are at stake, it is ideal that all people would come together and want to help improve the situation in any way possible. This includes those that are affected accepting kindness, for it is only going to aid them in the end.
In light of recent events with current award shows and lack of diversity in the winning group, it comes to mind that maybe this discrimination is on purpose for hateful reasons. In society, most would hope that this is not the case. Perhaps there were not many non-white candidates to win the awards, and therefore the white actors and actresses took home many more simply because there were more to choose from. Unfortunately, maybe the Academy or even the casting directors were prejudiced against non-white actors and actresses. There is no way to know for sure. All we can do is the same with any other profession: be conscious and responsible for it. When a topic is covered extensively by the media, the hope is that change will occur. Now that the topic has been brought to light, more casting directors and others involved in the entertainment industry will hopefully be inspired to include prominent roles for affected groups of people, bringing more than what they look like to the table, but creating a remarkable story that will surely be worth sharing.
Some people may say that this is just the way things are, that people are racist for reasons out of our control. From the moment we were born, we could never be “colorblind”. Is this the truth?
Suppose we put two kids in a sandbox to play with each other. One child is white, and the other is black. The kids play together without any problems.
Why can they still play while they have their obvious differences? This is simply because children do not see color. They look past it, and see a person. This is the lesson that we have forgotten, and this is the same lesson we must instill into our children and all future generations. Racism and prejudice ends here, for no one is programmed to hate, only taught to hate.
Remembering Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, these issues of today seem to echo those of the past. Have we forgotten what that meant to all of us, not as blacks and whites, but as people? With societal progression, the civil rights fight will eventually be over, but not the individual racism. The only thing we can do as individuals is have the courage to consciously see without color and stand up against those who feel the need to discriminate and harbor hatred. We must make a conscious decision to step away from hate, and let in love.
In the end, we must all remember that who we are is not our race. There is only one race, and that is the human race. To make this affirmation with solid determination, that alone should be our dream.