America needs to listen to each other

Why is it, in a country that calls itself “United”, we are becoming more and more divided? America, in and out of itself, is an extremely diverse country. Black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight, the list continues for pages. This heterogeneity is considered the forefront of the “American Dream”: that no matter where you come from, what you look like, every single citizen is given the same opportunities as everyone else. However this “American Dream” can be better defined as an “American paradox.” Why is it that this “diversity” that is so highly praised the same reason that we are so widely divided? What gain do we get from basing our relations off of political parties, ethnicities, and sexualities rather than personal experiences with people? If we all respected each other on the basis of being an American citizen, it would open up doors to new growth as a country, for the people, created by the people.

Stereotypes and opinions are unpreventable. In fact, they form the ground of our democracy. However, these stereotypes and opinions lead to categorization and intolerance to certain groups. And as a gay girl growing up in America, these judgements have been brought to my attention more abruptly than people may realize. I have noticed from a young age, that no matter your sexuality, there will always be bias. If you are gay, many assume you have crushes on all your same-sex friends. But if you are straight, then you are assumed to be homophobic off the bat. And don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of assuming as well. But one thing that I learned through my journey of finding out my sexuality is: that the people who categorize you without getting to know you, are some of the most closed-minded people out there. And those who take the time to get to know you for who you are as a person are the definition of the “American Creed”.

In 2020, one of the most eventful years known to the world, the debate over police brutality quickly grew after the death of George Floyd. Naturally, many opinions concerning police brutality among people of color rose. Media was filled with movements such as “Black Lives Matter '', and its opponent “All Lives Matter”. Arguments filled comment sections, protests were happening right outside the door, and people were getting in fights with others over the validity of their argument. Suddenly, the focus wasn’t on the problem of police brutality itself, but instead was focused on attacking individuals. Instead of trying to resolve misunderstandings, people resorted to assault, which caused more anger, thus causing more misunderstandings. If this is how we continue to go about serious issues, things will not get done. But, if we allowed ourselves to listen, understand, and educate other people, it would allow us to come to a conclusion that benefits society as a whole.

When I was 14, my father and I never saw eye-to-eye on anything. I took a liberal stance on most topics, while he consistently took a more conservative stance. We did not take the time to understand each other's experiences. We were divided. It was hard for us to respect each other's existence because we were so caught up in attacking the other person for what they believed in. I did not respect him as a person because he did not believe what I believed. This is a smaller-scale example of what American society looks like right now. There is this idea that you can only have respect for someone if they share the same ideals as you do. It’s a common theme that we resort to attacking the actual individual instead of explaining why we differ in beliefs. In a country so diverse, it is inevitable that conflict will arise, especially when dealing with controversial topics like race and gender. However, society needs to learn to separate opinions from relations. Not every person comes from the same starting point. Every single person has developed their own perspective of the American Dream through their own experiences, and therefore, we are bound to see things differently. However, this creed that we should give each other respect still holds true. Push past the bias and get to know someone on a personal level. Every American has a story, and if we take the time to listen to stories instead of jumping to conclusions, we will build a better future based on respect and success.




Bay High School 2024 4th Block

AP Government

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