Please Reader, Make A Change

Please Reader, Make A Change

Vincent Gray, Staff Writer

Human nature is inherently selfish, but it is not a rule that it must be as such.  During the holidays I see stores filled with decorations and traditional foods and gifts that are used to celebrate during that holiday. In America Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day are commonly celebrated. However, on Pride Month few stores sell merchandise for it, and the merchandise sold is often rather pitiful and disappointing to LGBTQ+ members. During Black History Month (February) almost no stores can be seen selling significant merchandise for the occasion. To me this speaks volumes on our society’s preoccupation with individual satisfaction and selfishness. Many people care far more about their own gratification than the society as a whole.

As Valentine’s Day approaches and people celebrate their individual achievements in their relationships or wallow in self pity over their singleness, people of color are still being discriminated against, and even in their month of recognition are being ignored. I am completely disgusted by the fact that a single day in a month to celebrate a holiday created for a man born over a thousand years ago (St. Valentine) overshadows the recognition of people still existing in our society, people who are still facing oppression and discrimination.

I am rather frustrated with the fact that people waste money and time on forgettable holidays that could be spent doing important work. Of course, many people do not care about issues that do not immediately affect them. Privileged white people often turn a blind eye to the struggles of people of color. Able-bodied and neurotypical people ignore the struggles of people with physical/mental disabilities, and cisgender and hetero-sexual people often dismiss the issues LGBTQ+ people face.

During Pride Month, it is LGBTQ+ people who make the greatest effort. At women’s marches, the crowd is predominantly women. At “Black Lives Matter” marches, many of the people are people of color. However our country still celebrates Presidents Day for a President who embraced racism to justify his ownership of slavery (George Washington) simply because he was our first president. Sorry to break it to you, but…the first anything isn’t usually that great. America also celebrates Christopher Columbus Day, a man who mass slaughtered and raped Native people. Some states have slapped the name “Indigenous Peoples Day” over it and called it good. This reinforces my claim, people do not often care about things that do not affect them directly.

Please, reader, make a change. You can support people in more ways than you know. Shop in stores run by minorities, buy books written by writers with non-traditional backgrounds and experiences, be careful of the language you use around different groups and respect their sensitive areas. Be conscious of the slang you use.  Make an effort to help people with disabilities get what they need, or stay out of their way if they need more space. If someone is using a wheelchair, stay clear so they can get where they need to go on time. Open doors for those who struggle to open them for themselves. Stand up for people around you when they are being insulted or talked down to. You can do so much more than you know, if you just take the time and look outside of yourself.

Remember, the world is bigger than you. The world is bigger than Christmas, Valentines Day, and corporate scams. If you find a moment, talk to the people in your life about issues other may face, and recognize the un-inclusive aspects of our society. Strive for collectivism, rather than individualism.