The problem with our problems

The problem with our problems

By Clarissa Olson Posted April 26, 2019

The human soul can be a flawed and cruel entity. As teenagers, we don’t fully comprehend the true power behind what we do. It is astounding how little we really understand about the vile things we do and say. One particularly nauseating offense is the prejudice we uphold.

Prejudice can mean a great many things encompassing any kind of preconceived opinion. Racism is a type of prejudice, as well as sexism, ageism, and classism; all of which bring some sort of disgust to most of our minds. As teenagers, prejudice means much more than that. Maybe we don’t discriminate based on race or sex, but that doesn’t mean we’re guiltless. We hold prejudices based on the things we’ve seen people do, wear or say. We tease people for their hair, their bodies, their faces, their intelligence. We even develop such dispositions based on things we’ve heard about people, true or not. None of this phases us, but is it really any better than something more “serious,” like racism?

In a room full of people, one girl stands out. Maybe she doesn’t dress the same as everyone else. All it takes is one person to make a verbal note of her attire. Maybe she says it to one person, and maybe that one person repeats it to another. Eventually, the whole room is in on the joke. By popular mentality, this girl is the epitome of uncool, so why would anyone bother talking to her? Anyone who did would only be labeled by association. This girl could be the nicest person any of the people in that room would ever meet, but they’ll never know it.

We can’t assume to be treated with more respect than we are willing to give. People will not love you for treating them like dirt. Most will probably detest you. Counterintuitive, is it not? Say you’re in a situation where a teacher is unwilling to work with you. Maybe they’re new and don’t know what to do themselves. The second you get frustrated and vent to your peers, you haven’t just prejudiced yourself, but everyone you talked to. Now none of the students are willing to work with the teacher, so why would the teacher want to work with you? Nobody can get anywhere then. All prejudices do is dig deeper holes than the ones we started with.

It doesn’t matter who the subject of our affliction is; a peer, a sibling, a person of an different race or religion, the lunch lady, or a teacher, the ends could never justify the means. Every single person is just that: a person. Every human on the earth is human, just as you are, and just as I am. There is only one race, one class, one look, one style, and one ideology: humanity. Just as minorities and women deserve equality, every person around us deserves respect due to all living things, regardless of social implications.