Our society may have become more accepting over the years, but there are certain issues which seem to linger. Stereotypes, the lack of women’s rights, and a rapid decline in certain species of wildlife are some of these concerns.
e) Stereotypes: the highly normalized act of discrimination. Although racism and sexism may seem less common, they are often hidden as stereotypes. Many people may try to play it off as a ‘joke’, but it can be harmful to many. No matter who you are, you have most likely used and encountered them.
As a Persian girl, there are many stereotypes that I face. Some are mostly harmless, while others are vexing. As I am middle eastern, many of my unsettling encounters are while crossing the border. Slowly, I noticed the level of severity border security had with my family compared to others. The older I became, the more I realized how common stereotypes are. Often, ‘smaller’ stereotypes that I encounter very frequently, are not discomforting. People will typically assume that I am Muslim or that I recently immigrated. Of course, while being Muslim or immigrating is not a negative thing, it still shows that people are quick to assume.
As there is nothing in my appearance that clearly points out my ethnicity, I fortunately do not get stereotyped too often. Other racial groups however, face stereotypes for which they may have to pay the ultimate price. In the end, stereotypes may never end, but it is important to try to lower the frequency of them. Stereotyping becomes serious when you allow unproven thoughts to pave your actions.
a) The lack of women/girl’s rights around the world is another topic which is not discussed enough. Oftentimes, I will forget that only a hundred years ago, women could not vote in America. In many countries, to this day females have very little rights. These issues can be interlinked with stereotypes as well. In Canada and the USA, women have the same rights as men. To me, it is distressing that we can think about such small problems, while there are inhabitants of the same planet who are not permitted to drive because of their gender. Furthermore, at times it feels as if there is nothing we can do to help. Fortunately, there is progress being made. It is important that we who have many rights fight for those who do not.
b) As the youngest generation, it is important we take care of our planet. This can mean fighting for women’s rights, educating others about stereotypes, and even subjects not regarding humans. Wildlife may not seem imperative, but without it we would not survive. For example, if bumblebees went extinct, humans would not survive longer than three years. While other wildlife may not have such an immediate impact, it will affect us. Our survival aside, imagine living in a world with zero life other than ourselves. For me, this would have a large impact. The thought of never hearing birds chirp, or never seeing a beautiful wild animal again is truly saddening. In addition, no wildlife would disorder Earth. Unfortunately, at the rate that we are going, these issues will become reality. We must protect our wildlife like we protect our own lives. After all, it is their land as well.
In our society, there are many issues which have not yet been resolved. We can help by starting with ourselves and our community. Changing our mindsets will have the biggest impact of all. This Earth is the only planet we have, so we must protect all of its inhabitants.