Labels

I saw a refreshing news article the other day and it wasn’t just the story that spoke to me, it was what wasn’t said. There is so much hate in America against different groups of people that stories are swayed, opinions are made, and news stories don’t exist without some sort of undertone. Story after story I read and labels are put on people. The “gay man/woman,” the “Christian man/woman,” the “Muslim man/woman,” etc. etc. Whether it’s their religion or sexual orientation that is mentioned it’s all done to pull emotions from one side or the other. I believe it’s all intentional, getting people emotionally charged, and thus more interested in a story, but this is why the particular article about a police officer that helped a little boy touched me. You can find it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/09/police-officer-gaetano-acerra-helps-troubled-teen_n_5292985.html

The story goes that a troubled teen wanted to run away from home. A police officer went to his home and discovered that the kid didn’t have a bed to sleep on. The boy said he slept on the couch typically. So the officer brought back furniture and a friendship! It’s a refreshing story, not simply for the kind act, but because the news didn’t put a political sway on it. A man helped out a boy that needed help and someone to talk to. Add some choice adjectives to the story and people on both sides would be bickering for no reason! People can’t be kind to one another any more because of labels and stereotypes. So it’s beyond refreshing to see someone reaching out to someone else without labels attached. Isn’t that what society should be? 

Why do we have major television networks canceling shows because the men are Christian (and take a pro life stance)? Why do we have breaking news headlines when someone “comes out of the closet?” Why do we decide whether or not to fight for girls who are being abused based on their religious orientation? Why can’t we just do what is right for all people and treat all people with dignity and respect? I don’t understand how someones religion affects their human right to be treated with respect. Neither do I see why someones sexual orientation should sway anyones treatment of them. In yet celebrities are being made of people who “come out,” woman are being abused/killed because of their religion, and people are losing their jobs for either their religion or lifestyle apart from work. Your job and success in a career should be measured by how well you preform, period. You shouldn’t be demoralized because of your religion or your sexual orientation, certainly not in the public work arena! We are suppressing our own “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion!” It’s a constitutional right and we squander it away out of selfish rage towards certain groups of people. We should be proud to live in a Country that fights for equality and fair treatment of people, but instead we create public outcries to have people step down from their livelihoods or be fired for their beliefs. Other countries are seeking help from us in yet we have to know their stance on religion and sexual preference before we decide to take a stand or not!

We also don’t speak out against issues when labels are attached. Take for instance the mostly Christian girls kidnapped by an Islamist Terrorist group. Take away the “Christian” and “Islamist Terrorist” labels and now we have people wanting to help people! One simple tweet, #bringbackourgirls and awareness was raised immediately. Immediately people wanted to help! I think we should be about people helping people! If someone is hurting we help them, if someone is perpetrating an act of abuse on another person we step in, and if someone simply moves up the corporate latter based on their own merit then good for them! The Internet has made it so easy for people to find “dirt” on others that the new standard of measurement is your stance on social issues for the past 10 years or more. Then the group with the loudest microphone wins, and microphones are much easier to hold when they are hiding behind a computer screen. It’s so easy for us to lash out at others from our computers. The comments sections on news articles are just sickening. All because someone put a label on another person and decided that that person wasn’t worthy of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” America isn’t what it should be and we have the media to thank. So thank you for this one story with no labels out of the sea of stories with an axe to grind, and a person to destroy.

To anyone reading this why don’t we treat people as people and not a label. Put down your predisposition about a certain group of people and show kindness, respect, and compassion to everyone. We will have a better America if we can lay down our own pride for the sake of helping others.

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