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I

by eric homeyer - cincinnati public school student

 

are you one in a million, or one of a million? classification causes us to see each other as part of a group, without adding any value to the individual opinion. classification is the breeding ground for segregation.

everyone is an individual. we all have our own minds and bodies. if every person could just see themselves and others as individuals, then we might have a chance at achieving equality, because you can't discriminate against one person. discrimination is a group effort against another group, and putting us all in seperate corners is only going to increase cultural biases.

if you see everyone as white, or black, or christian, or jew, or muslim, or asian, or male, or female; and they're different than you, then you as an individual will naturally consider yourself the one with the correct view. when this is widespread, and different groups and classifications adopt the attitude of 'us vs. them', segregation, discrimination and racism occur.

if you see everyone as another individual with the same validity to their opinions as yours, because like you, they have a mind of their own, then racism and discrimination cease to exist. the color fades away, the classification fades away, and the ignorance fades away. if you take away the classification and shed people of their labels, all that's left is an individual, and in the end that's what we all are. in the end, no one person matters more than the rest.

some other issues that lead to biased views and poor judgement are first impressions, statistics, and the media. in concordance with a point that yahnus cameron brought up at the recent forum [held in a public school], unfortunately, first impressions are everything. if the boy who was shot and killed [in cincinnati by police] was wearing a suit and tie, would he still have gotten shot? this doesn't mean that we shold all dress in uniforms and never express ourselves again. some people are too quick to judge, and that is not always necessary. however, such as in the case of police officers, they rely on their quick judgement on a day to day basis in order to survive and keep the general population safe. sometimes, unfortunately, their judgement can be clouded by cultural biases and classification, and they can make mistakes.

cops can't know every citizen on an individual basis, and sometimes they have to go on statistics. not everything and every situation adheres to those statistics, that's why they are fluctuating percentages, not absolutes, and that's also why every now and then the statistics are wrong and human error prevails. this is not meant to justify an officers reactions to a given situation, just to give another perspective.

another valid point was made by jen sese about the media. the media distorts everything by picking out little details and turning them into huge issues, such as one black person fighting one white person in a crowd of hundreds of other people, white and black, who aren't fighting each other, and this slows efforts for equality tremendously. it further divides into groups pitted against each other by blowing events out of proportion. if the media either becomes completely objective, offering all viewpoints on every issue, or just completely stayed out of issues such as this, then peace may come sooner among the humans of the world.

in conclusion, look at other people as people, because we are all people, no matter what other groups everyone tries to put us into. if we can separate as individuals, we can unite as humanity and respect each other, and our opinions. validity of opinion is shared by all and should also be accepted by everyone.

w e a r e a l l e q u a l d e s p i t e d i f f e r e n c e s

**for the purposes of this paper, all letters are lower case.