(A river nearby in Tennessee)
When I lived in Europe, I was quite startled to discover that some individuals would despise me simply because I was an American.
More than the seemingly-personal attacks, what shocked me most was the presence of such blind hatred. I had never been witness to such prejudice. I had read about it. I had heard about it. But I had never seen it – much less had it aimed straight at me.
This shock opened my eyes to entire world of individuals who are ostracized and marginalized, victims of prejudice, racism, and blind hatred.
It also made me realize that I had probably said or done things that hurt others. While I hold no feelings of racism or prejudice, ignorance can be just as hurtful.
There are people who experience far worse than I did because of where they were born, the color of their skin, the culture they are associated with, their religious beliefs, or their sexual preferences.
The people that said horrible things to me did not take the time to get to know me. They heard my accent and made all sorts of assumptions.
I kept saying it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair.
They didn’t care whether their words were just or not.
But you can.
It isn’t right advocate hate. There is a difference between standing up for what you believe in, and acting in blind hate.
If you’ve never thought about how your words might make people feel, I urge you to consider it.
Words have the power to hurt or heal. Which will yours do?