From a young age, in order to understand people’s differences, we are taught to see what we have in common with others. I do not want that assimilated melting pot. I want to be in a mixed salad with robust greens and ripe cherry tomatoes—or maybe I’m just hungry. Either way, I feel as though I would not learn and grow if I only dealt with people like me. While we all want to see the best in each other by looking at what we have in common, we also need to look at what makes us different. The same way that being color blind does not truly mean a person is not racist, this is the same principle that can be applied to the sort of person who only wants to see what they have in common with other people, even personality-wise.
I cannot stand when someone tells me that they are color blind. To me, especially as a minority, this tells me that the other person does not see that I may have a completely different ethnic background and cultural heritage than they do. They may think that they are being accepting and tolerant of me by saying that they are treating me as they colorless equal, but I want them to view me as colorful and completely as I view myself. If there is anything we learned from the famous U.S. case Plessy v. Ferguson, separate but equal is inherently unequal.
There is a difference between equality and justice. This image illustrates this concept quite literally.
In the first scenario on the left, all the individuals have a box that are of equal size, shape, and length. These are equal boxes, but they do not serve justice to the shortest of the group who still cannot see over the fence. In modern cases, affirmative action aside, we may be afraid to give someone a greater push because we may be offending them by not thinking that they can do it completely on their own.
I believe it to be quite the contrary. I believe that if someone really does not have the skills or resources to be on the same playing field as others, whether that something be seeing over a fence or having a more fair pay in the workplace, we need to offer them a better resource without fear of offending them. By that same logic, those who receive help must not be afraid to ask for help, but they must do so in a way that shows respect, gratitude, and an understanding that they should help pay it forward.
There are people who do ask for help who do not feel grateful and instead feel completely entitled, which is truly irritating and perhaps why many conservatives in the U.S. are against “government handouts”, but I think as anyone receives help along their way to bettering their lives must pay it forward to others as a sort of ripple effect of kindness. Receiving help from only the top, like trickledown economics, will not help others and others like them achieve their goals. We must help others that we know are in similar or worse situations. The others that we help may not look like us or act like us, but it is better to ask and get to know than to completely brush others off and assume they do not need the help.
Have a great Friday and pay it forward!
@AlphaFemSociety tweets by @Bobellerz