504. Ridicule the Ku Klux Klan
Updated June 22, 2009
There is something instinctual in me that immediately resists whenever I see someone trying to make assumptions or stereotype a group of people based only on something superficial like their skin color. No matter what culture we come from, we each somehow end up with our own unique blend of individual beliefs and habits. While we are no doubt influenced by the people around us, in the end, we each make our own personal decisions that define who we are.
So while you can observe distinct cultural differences that apply to groups of people, it’s more difficult to make those broad generalizations and then apply those to individuals. An individual from any culture will surely have some of the beliefs and habits typical in that culture, but that will be tempered with their own set of differences. Refusing to recognize that, and insisting on relying on stereotypes, puts us on a dangerous path toward hatred and fear.
Hatred is born of fear, and fear is born of ignorance. I’m no anthropologist, but I haven’t yet found a culture that I couldn’t understand and appreciate by simply studying and learning about it. I don’t ridicule the individuals in the Ku Klux Klan, I ridicule their small-minded belief that one race is superior to the others in spite of all evidence to the contrary. I ridicule the fear they have that someone will prove them wrong. I ridicule that belief because it is dangerous. It leads to more fear, more hatred, prevents enlightenment, and causes violence. I ridicule that belief because I want to make it seem unimportant, backwards, and silly so that it loses its power.