The unknown is scary. It’s unfamiliar, why wouldn’t it be daunting? Make the unknown less scary — ask questions, seek answers. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
On Sunday, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page allegedly shot people at a Sikh temple in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wis., according to CNN. Page, a former soldier, was the lead singer of “End Apathy,” a white-power rock band who also has a tattoo of the Celtic Cross — a symbol adopted by white supremacists groups, according to CNN.
This shooting coming weeks after the massacre in Aurora, Colo. at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. I’m left baffled. These men were capable of legally purchasing firearms, but failed to acknowledge the commonalities that unite us — the commonalities that bind us to one another.
Since Sept. 11, the world has transformed into a place where we are hyper-vigilant of our differences. Most of us, afraid of the unknown, look the other way and do not inquire about lifestyles that are different from our own. Why is that?
Today, my brother, who is deaf and is traveling with other deaf and hard-of-hearing people from Las Vegas to Minneapolis, encountered his own bought of discrimination.
Before I continue, I tell you this not for pity but, rather, to raise awareness. As my brother and his friends waited for their flight, they decided to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s. He writes his order on his cell phone as a means of successfully communicating with individuals who are unfamiliar with sign language. The employee at Ruby Tuesday’s proceeded to say that they could not understand his language there and he could not order.
Once again, this isn’t a story about pity. He has been deaf his entire life and is capable of functioning like any hearing individual. It’s a story about people who are afraid to ask questions and embrace our differences.
Thankfully, one of his hard-of-hearing friends let the employee and the management at Ruby Tuesday’s have an ear full, so to speak. This discrimination ended in a free meal.
It should be more than that. That individual represents the people who are afraid of the unknown and afraid to ask questions about our differences.
Let’s channel our anger (or my anger) into motivation. Let’s turn it into an opportunity to teach people.
Let’s make the unknown familiar — Let’s embrace our differences for what they are. Let’s understand the implications they have on our lives. And, more importantly, let’s embrace each other.
My outlook may be too romanticized, but you have to start somewhere, right?
Happy Monday, my friends!