I don’t know about you, but I am getting along with my fellow Americans. No matter the angle — race, culture, religious belief or anything else — that the mainstream media tries to use to divide us, I am getting along with my fellow Americans.
The reason is quite simple. It’s respect. It’s treating others the way you want to be treated. The majority of people want to go through their day with little fuss and little drama. Most people smile back when you smile at them.
There are racists, misogynists and cruel people in every culture. It doesn’t matter the skin color, the gender or religious or political background.
I was once the only Caucasian in my line of work and was constantly harassed and abused. For example, I was chased off the road and almost driven off the overpass by my coworker. When I reported her, HR asked her for her reasoning and she pointed at my skin. Yet she was not fired — only reprimanded. I moved into a neighborhood in Fayetteville in 2001, and someone wrote a vulgar message on my mailbox in reference to my race. They threatened my life and the lives of my family members.
But I chose to not let those experiences create a belief that everyone from the same race is bad because of what a few of them chose to do. How we respond to such behavior can either provoke more hatred or stop it.
What we see online and on TV and what we hear on the radio could lead us to believe there is no unity in America, that we hold each other in contempt and that we choose to fight hate with hate. That has not been my experience — in fact, quite the opposite.
Walk into Sammio’s or Food Lion, and people of all backgrounds will greet you. Drive down Main Street and watch as cars allow others out of the parking lot to Rose’s or Lowe’s. Each car has someone in it who is different than you.
It happens every day. Strangers — people of different genders, races, religions, lifestyles — treat each other with kindness and respect. It’s wonderful when you think about it. All these people have a story to tell. Some may be sad. Some may be tragic. Some may be exhilarating. Yet each one is a small part of something that leads to a greater community.
For the most part, Americans want peaceful lives. They want to be able to go to work and provide for themselves and their families. They want to be able worship how they choose. They want to be able to express their opinions, rightfully so, without being harassed or threatened.
Don’t let the news on TV or radio lead you into believing that everyone is against you because of who you are.
Please note, I am in no way, shape or form, diminishing the evil actions of people like the Vegas shooter or the Orlando shooter. I am not in denial. I’m not looking through rose-colored glasses. I see the evils of this world. I do believe in being aware of the world around you.
But I also believe in living each day to the fullest and not letting the hatred that the media is trying to spread overshadow what is truly going on in my community. And when you stop and look at how the majority of the people within this community treat each other, the reality sets in. So please don’t feed into the hype.