Neutrality and Racism

9 September 2016

As children we’re taught to never fight back when a classmate steals a beloved smack time treat or retaliate when they take our cubby. And as we continue to grow older, we’re constantly reminded to turn the other cheek when someone is spiteful towards us- after all, forgiveness and love is considered to be of utmost importance according to the word of God. However, while remaining neutral to situations may avoid conflict and confrontation, it also leaves us undecided and apathetic towards any remote yearn for change.

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By not demanding change, we are allowing unacceptable behavior to continue. With historical events such as the civil rights movement and current events such as bullying, neutrality sets a limit on human capability for improvement and understanding. Change is spearheaded by a shift in mindset rather than staying neutral to the norm. And in order to change someone’s mindset, we must be wholly determined ourselves. From the famous words of Martin Luther King’s, ‘I have a dream’ speech, we can feel his burning desire to inspire the American people.

Although King refused to remain neutral to the treatment towards people of color, he always advocated nonviolent protests. Through pleas of judging someone on their character rather than their skin tone, he urged America to end lynching, grant everyone full, equal, and promised rights, and grant well deserved tolerance of race. If King and other activists such as Malcolm X and Rosa Parks chose to remain neutral to their maltreatment, the United States very well may have been stuck in the same 1950’s mentality for years to come.

These African American leading figures prove the point being made- identifying and finding solutions are necessary to move forward. Staying neutral, in essence, means we are condoning the inappropriate behavior or actions being done. Currently in the 21st century, technology is becoming a vital role in our everyday lives. However, with new ways of technology and outbursts of social media, a new trend has been created- cyber bullying.

Granted the security of a monitor and the comfort of an office chair, millions of online users are using the internet as an outlet to bully others. When we are online and see this type of behavior, often found in forms of curse words or appearance ‘jokes’, we are often following the bystander effect and staying ‘neutral’ to these acts of hatred. By being a bystander, we are not taking the initiative to stop this bullying, therefor not instilling a need for change.

Thankfully, organizations such as ‘stopit’ and ‘endbullying’ have taken it upon themselves to find solutions to this ongoing and severe problem. Bullying online leads to thousands of suicides, specifically in teenagers. Staying neutral to this situation may mean one life wasted; and by trying to end bullying may mean hundred of lives saved. Looking from history to modern day issues, remaining neutral is almost never an effective route. By remaining neutral we limit our capability to really understand and accept others. Awareness and being proactive is key to an improved world.

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