Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I don't know about you, but I think there's something seriously wrong with the world right now. It seems that everyday, I wake up to a new story about bullying, racial slurs or gay bashing. In the past 24 hours, two people have shared new youtube videos with me. One was from a local high school here in New York. My boyfriend's nephew told me that students published a video bashing another student because of the color of her skin. Today, my boyfriend's brother shared a different video featuring a small bully beating up a bigger kid until the big kid picks the smaller one up and throws him against the ground, seemingly breaking this kid's leg.
We've heard the John Galliano rant; we've seen the UCLA student's youtube clip against students on her campus. And I wonder why? What is it that makes people do such hurtful things? We've talked about this around our office. What makes someone go to the racial place? Why did Michael Richards rant against his hecklers with racial slurs? Why did Mel Gibson explode with a fountain of anti-semitic remarks? What takes someone from being angry to attacking someone because of their gender, their sexual orientation or the color of their skin?
Last year, we dedicated a week to Respect and Diversity. We were originally going to label the week Tolerance but then we heard feedback from some of the experts that framing the week around words such as Respect and Diversity was a more positive way of spreading the message.
According to the dictionary, Tolerance means - a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry. However, Tolerance also means - the act or capacity of enduring; endurance. Maybe that's part of the problem - maybe we need to go further. Are we using the wrong words and merely tolerating our differences instead of spreading the message of understanding and respect?
There are two actions that I'd like to do today. First off, I'm going to purchase Kindness Cards through Rachel's Challenge. The idea of this card is simple but the impact is very big. Do a good deed for someone, and hand off the car. Ask that your good deed be repaid by having the recipient perform a good deed for someone else and continue to pass on the card. These Kindness Cards allow people to track how one simple act can start a Chain Reaction of Kindness around the globe and touch the lives of many. I'm hoping to inspire people to pay it forward.
My second action? Purchase anErase Hate T-shirt from The Matthew Shepard Foundation. All purchases made support the Foundation's mission to erase hate and replace it with understanding, compassion and acceptance. I'm hoping that this purchase as well as my wearing of the t-shirt will help to spread the message of respect and help to Erase Hate.
What do you think? Will you pay it forward?