Gilroy. El Paso. Dayton.
There are a range of answers for this question, depending on who you are and what you believe in. I don’t think there is one blanket answer. Classifying the people who do this simply as “supremacists” or “mentally unstable,” for me, does not seem like a logical answer.
This goes deeper than that. Everyone hears the standard clichés in times like this. “The world is a messed up place.” Or how about “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” So many tired sounding observations. So lets explore another one, but in reverse.
“Charity begins at home.” Yep. This might be true, but we should perhaps also remember that it is not only charity that finds its roots at home. It is hatred. Bigotry. Judgment without knowledge. Stereotyping. All of these things also begin at home.
Are we mindful of the things we think and say? Do we make random judgments based on what someone is wearing, what colour of skin they have, what religious displays they outwardly present? YES, and I am certainly no exception. But I am trying to become more aware of what I think and correct it.
Do we think about what we say in front of our children? When we make random comments about other people, cultures, countries, choices of sexuality, political views or religion? How much do we actually stereotype and where do we get these ideas from? Are they ingrained is us from our childhoods? Yes. Do we also pick them up from the media? Yes. But perhaps, we would all do well to stop and examine the beliefs we hold about others. Are they appropriate? Why do we think the way we do? Do we really have the depth of knowledge it would require to make such judgments hold up when examined at a microscopic level?
What are we teaching our Children, perhaps even unintentionally? Children look to their parents to form ideas about the world. A good example does not guarantee that a child will grow up with the values of the parent, nor does a bad one, as history had proven over and over again, however, teaching yourself to be accepting means teaching your children the same thing.
Teach them to love, not hate. Teach them that it is okay to have differences of opinion with other people. Teach them that there will always be people in the world that they do not see eye to eye with, but they can still respect them. Be honest with yourself and with your kids about the state of the world. Let them see that there are real dangers from people thinking the wrong way.
Some think that one person is not enough to make a change, but that is a false ideal. We are raising the next generation. We are teaching them how to behave, how to see others and whether to love or to hate. Each one of us has a place in this world, make sure yours is beautiful and grows roses, not brambles for the next hundred years. There are enough thorns in the world.