Scrolling through my newsfeed leaves me sad and disappointed at people I otherwise thought were "good" people. I never liked the saying that 'history repeats itself' but I am constantly reminded that it's true. People are boldly writing their feelings of hate and 'anti-anything they don't understand.' One of the more disturbing ones I read recently was "I'm against Muslims & Refugees even being in our country." This was coming from a person who frequently posts things against immigrants; which if she is not Native American, her bigoted racist self can be deported out of America on the same plane she wishes to send others out on. I know her from volunteering, and despite the good mission we work towards together in our volunteer work, I need to remove her from my social media. I have no reason to see her remarks of ignorance and hate. My first thought had me visualizing arguing with her or punching her. Many people may say that violence is not the answer, and that is understood, which is why my first thoughts usually remain only thoughts. However, when I see statements that remind me of dangerous dictators and mass murderers of the past, I want to squash the seed that breeds this hate. I don't want there to be another holocaust; another genocide.
I remember when I was 9 years old I read novels and books about the Holocaust and learned how awful people could be. I went to the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. and bought a button I still own that says "Never Again." I pledged from that day forward to do my part in making Never Again mean something. If I ever heard anyone make racist remarks, or generalized hateful statements to a type or group of people, I became enraged and would get involved. Yet in this era of social media, I am unaware of how to combat the mass of ignorant garbage laced statements that I come across. I cannot get rid of them all, because then I see a thread that someone else I know commented on and I see the title of the article, or the gruesome meme that depicts the hate and ignorance in a picture with a stupid statement that has other like-minded folks 'yelling' out in agreement. I feel overwhelmed in a world I felt I could previously tackle; yet it is out of my control, so I stop and remind myself, there are things, people, opinions, and actions that I cannot control in this world.
I am unable to force people to open their eyes. I am unable to put someone else in the shoes of another, and to feel the punishment of actions they never committed. I can never make these hateful mockers be brown, or wear hijabs for a day, or to be raised in a country with no opportunity and so much corruption, violence, and theft that the best option is to try and make it in America. (Wait a second, that sounds like the American dream?) I can't make you understand the 10+ year waiting list of U.S. immigration, or how the knocking at the door puts fear in your heart, or how girls wearing headscarves must now walk in fear, in the country of America, that's supposed to be safe and maintain freedom of religion. Can I have you feel the pain of having your family killed in front of you; a slow torturous death, as they remove all your fingernails and proceed to torture you for believing in a faith that is different than your attackers? What about the feeling of hope when your remaining surviving relatives take you with them to seek a better life, to go through an arduous voyage where many die on the way, to arrive to the place of hope, and be turned away and flown back to the country where those in power will kill you for trying to flee. I can beg, plead, cry, yell, and get violent. None of it may even make you flinch. Until you experience some form of discrimination unto you, or someone you love, then maybe you will understand. I suppose that is how some of us can relate in the first place.
I am a second generation immigrant; my parents arrived to Canada illegally and very poor many years ago, and now my father owns a multi-million dollar business in the U.S. Do not excuse my family as the exception or not the norm; what families like mine are is proof that uninformed, crooked views are just that; crooked. Proof that immigrants have built, and will always be building this country. The Irish, Christians, Italians, Greeks, Polish, Jews, Chinese, Buddhists, Arabs, Indians, Muslims, Hispanics; the list goes on. That's exactly what WE are. A colorful diverse group of WE are who have built this beautiful nation into what it is today. Shame on any person who discredits the minority or religious group of another; special shame on those belonging to minority groups who simultaneously spread hate and fear of another minority group.
We must work as one. Not all humans are evil, but many are. If we stopped focusing on ineffective measures of what creates evil, we could spend better educated efforts into locating the conspiring assholes who want to see our country and our people perish. Remember that people like this are so despicable that they will kill their own. Remember that the holocaust began with statements similar to those being made now against Muslims, and refugees; it didn't immediately start with gas chambers. Remember what has always made our country great. Not everyone one is safe, but not everyone is guilty. I may lack ways to combat all the hate and ignorance on social media, so I choose to fight fire with water; in hopes that this article will circulate and put out some of those flames.