KYLE JAY at Runyon

It’s so easy to be a bigot, it really is. In fact, pretty much everyone is a bigot in some regard. It’s virtually impossible to be completely free of discriminatory tendencies. Even if you are the most accepting person in the world, and you meet someone who is a racist or prejudice, you’re judgement of them for having a different view on how to approach diversity classifies you as a bigot. It’s easy to be a bigot because discrimination is innate in our culture.

Personally, I pride myself on being open-minded and accepting of another’s identity. I have trained myself to be color blind and see past deformities and stereotypes. Unfortunately, I am a stereotype and I know what it is like to be labeled, asked dumb questions, and looked upon sideways. I say unfortunately not because I do not enjoy or embrace all of the many facets of myself, rather because the diverse parts of my identity are seen as, well, diverse. It is through my experiences of society’s reaction to my identity that affords me the opportunity to know what it’s like, so to speak, and adjust my behaviors so I do not react to anyone else in the same way.

Treat others how you want to be treated, unless they’re different.

The other day, I caught myself being sexist. I was watching the morning news, something I have rarely done, and instead of listening to the headlines and related dialogue, I was scrutinizing the female anchor. She was disheveled and had some pretty nasty roots. I wondered how she could bare to present herself on tv in such a way. Then I looked at the two male anchors, both completely unattractive and in clear need of a metrosexual makeover, and reverted my attention back to the woman. I remembered back to the last time I watched the same program and compared the current female anchor with the previous one. The previous one was more attractive and had beautiful facial features. The current one had a big nose. That last thought immediately yielded my internal dialogue and left me ashamed.

My subconscious is a sexist. I began to have racing thoughts of everything I had just said, and previous judgements I have made about females on television, like Hillary Clinton and her atrocious wardrobe and stiff hair. I was very disappointed in myself as it contradicts everything I just claimed to pride myself on. I cannot change my past behavior but I can address it and change it going forward. I see this as a learning opportunity in my self-development to become a better version of myself.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong

It’s so easy to be a bigot, it really is. Ridding yourself of all prejudice is not a realistic goal, but making a conscious effort to think and act positively towards differences and the identities they make, is. A bunch of small steps make one giant leap. Be apart of that leap, don’t be left behind.