Column: We should all be more accepting of each other’s differences

In order to reduce hate crimes, we must become more accepting.

Rachel Schnelle is freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life for The Maneater.

The present: a time that we are plagued with injustices and hate crimes against minorities. The future: a time that we, as citizens become more politically divided because of social injustices.

When hate crimes occured in the early 2000s, I was too young to realize the effects of the event. Now that I am older and more observant, I notice acts of prejudice that occur in the U.S. In these last few weeks following the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, I have noticed more hate, and less acceptance. I have seen both sides voicing their opinions and degrading their counterparts for how they are handling this hate crime. This child-like posting on social media is becoming more and more frightening and disturbing. Posting about the other political party is OK, but presenting your opinion with false facts is not. If we want to become a more accepting country, we must become more educated on such political topics.

I am also tired of seeing hate circulating around social media. This occurred frequently during the 2016 presidential election when people shared articles that they believed had the right facts because it aligned with their political views. Articles ranging from the derailment of the women’s movement to supporting Trump’s election were constantly on my newsfeed. Now that just finished a midterm election, those articles are resurfacing.

When I see more hatred and less acceptance expressed towards each other’s political counterparts, I can’t decide if it’s because of our president or the citizens. Political differences are not the only thing we need to be more accepting about. It’s also accepting other people for their sexuality and race.

When it comes to people my age, I have seen more ignorance and lack of empathy toward political or social topics than I have ever before. One major example is when people say ‘just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right’ in terms of the gay marriage being legal. As well as during International Women’s Day a few years ago and how girls in college found it ridiculous that their female professor took off for the day. What’s even more saddening is that people my age were raised in a time when these beliefs were prominent.

Our president has been in office for almost two years, and I can see the changes he is making — they are not good. Politically, I see our country becoming less empathetic, towards one another’s differences.

From time to time in high school, I wrote a personal blog. I have shared topics ranging from my beliefs on social issues to my faith. I tend to stray away from politics when it comes to this blog, but in March 2016, I decided to write a political post. The title was ironically “A Different Perspective.”

In this post, I tried to create a discussion that was politically neutral. I did this because if there was one thing I saw in next few days after the inauguration and the months following, it was extremely biased opinions. In my closing statement I said: “I also want to tell both sides that you are not alone. You are not stupid because of what you believe. You have a strong head on your shoulders and a good heart in your chest. You should treat people who believe differently than you with respect. Respect their opinions, and they will respect you.”

I see the U.S. becoming even less accepting of sexual preference, race and political differences. As a naturally positive person, it pains me to see the negativity in this world. My hope to be more accepting is also not something that I can guarantee will happen, because that would be naive.

However, my hope for the future is that we as citizens learn to become full of empathy and love. If we work at it, we can accomplish this great feat.

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