‘It’s Like the Problems Are Never-Ending’

‘It’s Like the Problems Are Never-Ending’

The following is the prize-winning essay submitted to B’nai B’rith’s Enlighten America contest by Marietta Middle School eighth-grader Icesha Sanders.

Icesha Sanders gets a congratulatory hug from her mother, Clevette Sanders.
Icesha Sanders gets a congratulatory hug from her mother, Clevette Sanders.

Today we’re going to talk about something serious: equality and prejudice. It’s the headline in the world today, and I’m here to state my views on it.

There’s this dictionary my parents bought me when I was a kid, and it’s called the Scholastic Children’s Dictionary. I decided to look up what the word equality means. It is a noun, and, as quoted from the book, the definition is “the same rights for everyone.”

Sounds easy to get, right? It isn’t. We as humans have existed on this Earth for centuries, and we still haven’t reached equality. It’s disappointing. Every day, I take a quick look at the news, and I hear about a mass shooting or a protest and how it was fueled by people who think that their race is better than others. Sometimes, it’s not because of race either. It can be fueled by gender equality, sexual/gender orientation or even religion. I bet you have heard of these things too.

Icesha Sanders

Once I heard a quote by one of our past presidents, Jimmy Carter. He said, “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” I remembered this quote because it shows how not only the United States is diverse, but also how diverse the world is as a whole. It’s a beautiful quote. I chose this quote because it shows that we all can belong together. It shows that no matter how bad the bigotry is, we all can live together as one, in harmony. This is relevant to society today, as there are many issues involving prejudice. It’s like the problems are never-ending.

Now let’s get deeper into this. I’ll separate this into three big equality issues the world is facing today: races/nationalities; sexual/gender orientation; religion.

First, I’ll start with sexual/gender orientation. A few years ago, same-sex marriage was legalized. Many people were elated with the news, while others were furious. I wonder why people would get angry over people loving people. Shouldn’t everyone love everyone? A while ago, the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., had me wondering: Who in their right mind would shoot innocent civilians, killing so many? According to many news sources, it was, in fact, a terrorist attack, and it may have been fueled by the perpetrator hating homosexuals. This affected many families, dads and moms; a parent’s child died that day.

Let’s skip a beat and head over to another related issue, people who are transgender. Does it matter what gender you are to have certain rights? I heard earlier that President Trump banned transgender individuals to enlist in the military. A trans person who wants to serve their country can’t, and all because they strive to be a different gender. I’m reading this book currently called “Lily & Dunkin” by Donna Gephart, and it’s about a trans girl, Lily, and her friend Dunkin and their teenage struggles with life in middle school. On Pages 80 and 81, Lily is bullied by boys she calls the “Neanderthals,” and they not only physically, but verbally abuse her, taunting her with stereotypical slang. It’s sickening to read those words, and it needs to be stopped.

The next issue is racism. This is a big one. Racism is not a new subject. It’s been around for over a millennium, and (sadly) there is no sign of it stopping. From counter sit-ins to shootings, racism is displayed in many ways. But many people think racism is a fight between black and white. Well, that isn’t the case. Racism, in fact, is the action of thinking that one race is inferior to another. It doesn’t matter what race you are. Let’s backtrack to years ago when the police shootings of unarmed black males occurred. Remember the Black Lives Matter protests? Well, in my honest opinion, black lives don’t matter only. White lives don’t only matter. All lives matter. It doesn’t matter what race you are. Your life matters.

Let’s take it back a little bit further to the church shooting in Charleston. The man who killed those people killed with monochrome eyes. He only saw two colors, black and white, and wanted to keep things that way. Lives were lost only because of the color of their skin. Like the quote I mentioned earlier, we are a mosaic of races, and we should not be separated because of our color. Take the quote as an analogy. If we separate the colors, it will result in a boring, mismatched artwork. If we mix them up a bit, we can get an astounding masterpiece filled with shape and beauty.

Our next and final issue is religion. This one has gotten major press in the media. Does it really matter what religion you are to live freely and independently in this world? I hear about terrorist attacks a lot on the news, and many are sparked by people having religious differences, causing hundreds of deaths. You should be able to do whatever you want to do, whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim or whatever religion you identify as. Even if you are atheist, you shouldn’t be judged because of the fact that you do not believe in a higher power. When people hear of terrorist attacks and immediately think it was a Muslim who committed it, it’s saddening as they stereotype Muslims as terrorists. Disgusting.

In conclusion, bigotry and prejudice are major problems in this era, and it needs to be addressed correctly. Don’t label Caucasians as racists, Muslims as terrorists, and other rude stereotypical terms for different groups of people. Don’t look at how they are on the outside. Take a look at their inner qualities. Do not judge someone based on race, religion, orientation, gender, disability or any demographic. Prejudice in the media is displayed as a regular issue that happens often, but it needs to be taken more seriously. It’s not just another news story. It’s someone’s life.


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