Wednesday in sociology class we were talking about (brace yourselves) society.
We were talking about Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his I Have a Dream speech, and what he might say about the world today. He fought for equal rights for all people, because why should we judge people as lesser than us because their skin is a different color?
People tear each other apart everyday. People treat others badly just for the fun of it. I recall this one day I was walking along side of a relatively busy road, heading to Walgreens. A car drove by, and the person in the passenger's seat shouted something and then intentionally flicked their cigarette butt at me. It didn't hit me; it landed a few feet in front of me... but why? Why would it bring them pleasure to throw a burning cigarette at a complete stranger? Why would it even cross their minds?
Another time, I was turning onto a neighborhood street in my car, windows down. As I turned, I noticed a girl about my age sitting on the sidewalk right at the corner. I smiled at her as I turned, and she responded by saying, "What are you looking at, bitch?"
She called me a bitch because I smiled at her? What reason on earth could she have for insulting a perfect stranger, who was smiling at her no less?
I am under no illusion that I am innocent of behaving this way. I know that when people in the car behind me who zoom around to get in front of me, it's not because they're personally terrible people. That doesn't stop me from being annoyed with them and insulting them under my breath. But why should I feel that way? I've done that before. It doesn't mean that I'm a terrible person (I hope). Why should the perfect stranger (in the car that is now in front of me) any different?
My sociology teacher said it, as simple as it is true: We are all the same. We're not like dogs and cats, completely different species. We are all. the. same. Cut us open, and you'll see we all have a heart and lungs. We all look the same from the inside. We are all composed of good and bad experiences, hopes and failures, blood and tissue.
Why do we want to hurt each other? We are all the same.
This entire post was inspired by this quote from a Peanuts book.
I'm no good at conclusions, but I think that says it all.