Prejudice Hurts Everyone Essay, Research Paper
Prejudice has been around as long as anyone can remember, and in one form or another, it has hurt many people in the past as well as in the present. However, if we keep seeing reoccurring statistics of it, why then can we not find a way to stop it? We need to stop it ? because prejudice hurts us all.
In the past, our society has seen many forms of major racial discrimination. One such topic that affected North America was the use of black people as slaves. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century and into the early stages of the twentieth century, black people were thought of as inferiors to the white people. Though Canada did not participate in this belief, the United States used these beliefs to their advantage. Since no laws were passed at the time, plantation owners used many blacks as slaves. They were forced to do hard labor in the fields, and this occurred until the year 1888, when slavery was abolished. But though it was abolished, for its duration it hurt many families and killed many people. This sense of superiority that was believed to be by white people was not unlike the Nazi?s beliefs that the Jewish were inferior. During World War II (1939-1945), Adolf Hitler persecuted all Jewish people by taking them to concentration camps. At these camps they would be gassed to death after doing hard work for the Germans, and as a result, millions of people died this way. There was no reason for these gassings but it is speculated that the Nazis were jealous due to the fact that many of the Jewish people in Germany were very wealthy. Lastly, another major event in history was the killing of many Soviets during Stalin?s Great Purge. During this period, any Soviet citizen who was heard questioning or opposing Stalin?s ideas for the country was quickly annihilated with the use of Stalin?s Secret Service. Again, millions were killed because of one person?s beliefs. Though racial situations as drastic as this rarely occur in the present, other discriminatory tragedies still happen, and measures must be taken to ensure they do not happen regularly.
Currently, laws are in effect to punish people who put others down due to racism. However, not only racism is discrimination. Many forms of discrimination are occurring in the present. For example, the shootings at W.R. Meyers School and Columbine High School were both done by teens who were picked on at school. These teenagers were constantly made fun of because of what they wore, games they played, and people they were friends with. Even though they did not do anything to anyone else before the shootings, they were still taunted. I can?t help but wonder if any of these tragedies would have occurred if these individuals were not taunted. Now, the same people who made fun of the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klieboldt, have left many families with lost children. Second, another form of discrimination that is commonly seen these days is religious discrimination. This topic has been an everlasting one in Ireland, where the Catholics and Protestants are constantly feuding. As a result of this, many people have been killed and injured due to terrorist bombings by the opposite religion. What each of these religions are not realizing is that they are defying the commandments of their own Bible when they hurt others. Lastly, another type of discrimination that is affecting us today is that of the ethnic ?cleansing? being done in Yugoslavia by the Serbians. Because of their belief that they are superior, the Serbians are trying to force all Muslims out of the country. This situation is affecting us because we Canadians are now participating through military forces. Because of this, we are speculated to be facing WWIII. Again, because of one group?s beliefs, people not even involved with them are being hurt; another example to prove that prejudice hurts us all.
Because of racial discrimination?s huge history, many books have been written to exemplify and educate others of exactly what went on. I feel that one of the best books that shows what the Chinese went through when they first came to America is ?Dragonwings? by Laurence Yep. It detailed the hardships of a father and son?s struggle to survive in America. Many hurtful things happened to or affected the characters throughout the novel. The main character of the book was Moon Shadow, a young Chinese boy who came to live with his father, Windrider, in America. In the book we found out that Moon Shadow?s grandfather was killed when he came to America when he was hung by his ?queue?, a term for the long ponytail which was a tradition for the Chinese to wear. There was no reason for this hanging except for the fact that Moon Shadow?s grandfather was Chinese. Another detail in the story that showed discrimination was the name-calling done by the young boys who played near Moon Shadow?s home. Names such as ?Ching-Chong-Chinaman? were called of Moon Shadow, and this intimidated Moon Shadow. However, these children were only ten or eleven years old, so this name-calling must have been instigated by their parents, for children of that age usually do not even comprehend that they are hurting anyone by this. Lastly, the adults living in San Francisco would come to Chinatown and throw rocks through the Chinese people?s windows. This circumstance was not understood by Moon Shadow because he knew that he had done nothing to hurt any of the people throwing the rocks. Though many things were done to hurt Moon Shadow and his family, he managed to survive by having faith in himself and knowing that all the others who thought poorly of him were fools. The book ?Dragonwings? is very inspirational for this fact, and maybe it could help many people out by making them realize what being discriminated against is like.
Many times, we North Americans are not aware of the fact that discrimination can hurt us until something such as the Columbine High School crisis occurs, or locally, the W.R. Meyers shooting happens. There must come a day when we do realize that there is a pattern and we try to stop discrimination. Until that day comes we will have to keep ignoring the fact that discrimination hurts us all.