Racism and intolerance are rampant in America these days. It seems every time I turn on the television someone is bashing someone else, whether it be based on religion, sexual preference, race, gender, or just plain jealousy. It’s rather sickening.
I was shot in the neck—at point-blank range—by a couple of young black men in a predominantly white neighborhood. The shooter and his partner had chosen this particular street for a reason: a “perceived wealth” of its (mostly) white inhabitants. An incorrect notion (I didn’t live in the neighborhood; I was visiting a friend, and was by no means wealthy) that changed not only my life, but theirs as well (the two were later apprehended, tried and convicted to lengthy prison terms).
Does this mean I should hate all young black men? If the perpetrators of the crime had been a pair of young white men would it have made a difference? No, the outcome would be the same. I’d still be paralyzed from the chest down; a quadriplegic. Understandably, I could dwell on the fact that the duo was black and hate them for it, but why? In fact, I’m almost sorry they were black. It only serves to perpetuate the myth that all young black men are, indeed, thugs. This is far from the case. To condemn an entire race based on the actions of two misguided kids would be a tragedy… for me.
It’s easy to be against something. It’s easy to hate things (including people) we are not accustomed to. It’s easy to ignore major problems such as discrimination or flat-out racism. It’s hard, though, to face facts, rethink, open up and get involved with people that may not fit into our “normal” comfort zones. It’s hard to swallow our pride and allow change into our hearts and minds. It is, however, very important that we try to do just that. If not, understanding and acceptance can’t exist in this world we share. And we do share it, whether we like it or not. Maybe we will all get it right one day. I guess time will tell.