Embracing those daily differences

Wyatt Massey
Feb 2, 2016 · 3 min read
Just look at the beauty of those differences.

Note: This post is part of #PublishEveryDay, a writing challenge I am doing to publish seven blog posts in seven days. I asked the social media sphere for writing prompts. Today’s question comes courtesy of David Wyatt.

Why should the color of a person’s skin or the god they choose to pray to (or not) determine how you treat them?

The answer: It should not.

The reality: It does.

The United States Declaration of Independence details that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are unalienable rights in this country.

In the Bible, another text given substantial weight in the United States, Matthew 22:39 reads, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Your mother, or someone’s mother, once said, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” Translation: Don’t be a jerk.

However, this kind of idealism sounds good in theory but falls flat on its face in reality. We extol the virtue of the Golden Rule one moment, then break it the next.

Ahead of the Iowa caucus, Muslims in Cedar Rapids, Iowa said they were unable to even go to dinner with their family without receiving disheartening looks. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, huh?

Fears of terrorism polarize media channels, but several Gallup polls show that feelings about terrorism in the United States remain mixed. Americans cannot decide what to fear but believe they should fear something.

Plain and simple, fear is easier than love.

We can kid ourselves into believing that we are safe, smart and rational. But the choice to keep our heads down, drowning out those who challenge us, does not protect our values. What message do we send by refusing to accept differences? How we treat others — the stories we tell, the looks we give and the love we show — are a reflection of who we are as people.

Love, acceptance and even acknowledgment require vulnerability. Vulnerability researcher Brené Brown noted in her TEDTalk the one variable that differentiated those who could love and those who could not.

“The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging,” she said. “That’s it. They believe they’re worthy.”

Christians are welcomed to salvation and told to “come as you are” — broken, oppressed or uncertain. If God, the Christian moral authority, does not differentiate between those He saves, why should we?

Every city, every neighborhood and even every group of friends has differences. The unique beauty of the human race is that everyone has a slightly different way of seeing the world. Humans are not homogeneous. Yet, those with social can act as though we should be.

We have the power to change that mindset.

There is an inherent danger in discussing a topic such as accepting different religions and cultures. These are deep-rooted issues with social, political and economic factors. The kind of idealism employed in this article will not bridge these divides.

Yet, policies and peace begin at the individual level. The world needs to revamp the way it views differences. If prejudice attacks individuals from all angles, our mission to end hate should address prejudice at all angles, too. Change the mindset of one person or be a better example of love and maybe, just maybe, we can make a difference.

I am looking forward to the day when my #PublishEveryDay writing prompt is an account of the time in our history when we were silly enough to treat people differently based on the differences that make them who they are.

Do you have a writing prompt you would like me to tackle during #PublishEveryDay? Send me a tweet or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Wyatt Massey

Written by

Human rights journalist.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade