Exposure, college cause writer to become more open-minded
Kentucky, as well as the rest of our country, is indeed a melting pot of different cultures. What makes the bluegrass state different from a lot of other states is our misunderstanding of these different cultures.
As most people in Kentucky, I have spent the majority of my life here. So as I grew older, I would overhear people in my community talking negatively about people in our town who, in laymen’s terms, were not “white, straight, Christian folk.”
When I was a child, I did not understand any importance or meaningfulness behind this. Once I reached high school, it occurred to me that a lot of my peers would use some of the same slurs I had heard in my younger days.
Once I arrived at college, I was exposed to just exactly how much of a melting pot our country is. I met several students who were not from this area. Seeing all of this made me want to study up and learn about different religions, cultures and languages.
Since being in college, I have definitely become a more broad-minded individual. That is why I’m still in utter shock and awe when I hear people throwing around remarks geared toward a certain group of people.
Spending the majority of my time in this rural area has made me realize not everybody is as broad-minded. While here, I occasionally overhear people throwing around similar remarks to those I heard as I child. And when I hear it, I try to revert myself back to those childhood days where I pretend not to understand it. To be honest, every time I hear someone use a degrading term to describe someone who is Arabic, black or gay, it sends chills up my spine.
But the bottom line is not everybody is going to be Christian, not everybody is going to be straight and not everybody is going to be white. But you can’t punish them for it. Nobody should be forced to think or feel a certain way just because it’s the “normal” thing to do.
In fact, some of the things that seem “normal” here are considered taboo and strange in other places. But that does not make us weird. It makes us unique. It’s part of our culture and lifestyle, just as much as being Muslim is part of the Middle Eastern lifestyle.
You cannot go through life stereotyping everybody. Not all people who are from the Middle East are Muslims, just like all people from here are not Christians. And, more importantly, not everyone from the Middle East is a terrorist.
Like I said, Kentucky is a melting pot and while you do not have to agree with a person’s sexuality, religion or culture, you do have to accept it. Because it’s not our job to persecute anybody who doesn’t think the way we do. That’s what the holocaust in Europe was all about. And look how many people had to die before that was put to an end.
So, if you’re walking down the street and see someone from a different country, don’t consider them a threat. Consider it an opportunity to open your mind and broaden your knowledge of different cultures.