One dark, muggy spring night in the heart of Texas, a black man was drug behind a pickup truck for five miles. He didn’t survive the attack against him by two white, high school dropouts. Police believe the only motive was the fact that the man was black. He was different from them and the accepted norm. A black man in what they perceived as a country belonging to white men. These two men took it upon themselves to invade this man’s personal space, going as far as killing him. It seems he did nothing to provoke them, and he was singled out only because he was black. Flash forward to a cold, windy night in a small college town.
A hopeful young university student is lured from a bar by, yet again, two high school dropouts. The student was quite small, and really had no means of defending himself. He was taken out of town by pickup truck and brutally beaten. After his attackers were through torturing him, they tied him to a fencepost and left him for dead. Police say the motive for the attack was robbery, but it has also become apparent that he was targeted because he too was different from the accepted norm. His difference wasn’t quite as obvious as skin color, but most everyone on campus had heard about him.
He happened to be gay and because of this he was singled-out and brutally murdered. These two incidents are not the only ones of their kind. In fact, brutal, hate-filled crimes happen every day all over America. The problem has become so large that there are several newsletters printed monthly aiming only to educate the public about the volume of these kinds of crimes. People are singled out every day for being different, and sometimes it leads to their demise. Now, what is wrong with a nation that is so filled with anger? People strike out at one another in many different ways, and there must be some reason.
One correlation between the two crimes mentioned before is the fact that all four perpetrators were high school dropouts. Education seems to be the one key factor in preventing crimes of this degree form happening. A program based on teaching tolerance for different people, lifestyles, and ways of thinking would be a huge step in diminishing these horrid, brutal crimes. This call for teaching more tolerance in school seems to be a much-needed step in preventing crimes of this magnitude. The ongoing debate about whether or not states need hate crime legislation could be virtually eliminated.
These debates are often heated, and make rational people do and say irrational things. Children, who are taught to be open and accepting, have no justification for killing each other. They would not see people who are different as people who have deviated from the norm. There would be no norm for them to compare against. A white child would never be under the impression that he was better than an Asian or a Latino. This kind of program would teach children to believe in individuality, and the value of a person as a whole unit.
If children were more tolerant of each other and the decisions made by people, it would lead to fewer people harming other people. Men wouldn’t be drug to death because their skin color wasn’t right. The perpetrators of these brutal crimes could have been taught to be open and accepting of different people. With fewer people hurting and killing each other, the crime rates would obviously fall. This would lead to a chain reaction of fewer people in prison and therefore less taxpayer money spent. The cost of implementing this kind of a program could be paid off very quickly with the money that was saved on inmates.
Finally, America as a nation would become more accepting, and embrace people from all walks of life. The effect that a program of teaching tolerance would have on the entire nation could be compared to the drop of a pebble in a lake. We first teach the children and the children in turn teach their parents. This great ripple effect would eventually touch every single person in America. No more would blacks walk together through white neighborhoods, and no more would gays be forced to stay closeted to avoid terrible mistreatment.
People could be themselves and not fear persecution for it. Tolerance is a characteristic that could very well turn the future of this nation around. One single idea could have so many positive ramifications. Nations become stronger, because all of a sudden we’re all Americans. We’re not white Americans or Spanish-Americans; we’re all just Americans. Race religion, gender and sexual orientation no longer are identifying words for our people. America needs some hope in its future and this could be just one way to help bring some hope about.