Friday, October 23, 2015

Can I assume that differences exist because we are all misunderstood?

In today's society we have created "classes" according to race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. I guess that is why we misunderstand each other because of our differences, but shouldn't our differences bring us together? Ray, in his ninth grade Ethnic Studies class created the question “Can I assume that differences exist because we are all misunderstood?” and this caused a bunch of thoughts to flow in my head.

The first thing that came to my mind was a quote created by H.L. Mencken which is “ The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear- fear of the unknown…..What he wants above everything else is safety.” I believe that we are all afraid of trying new things because we are afraid of what the outcome will be. For example, a girl might not want to tell her crush how she feels about them because she’s afraid that he might not feel the same way. Ray also brought up the point that everyone sees different as bad because everyone is born with a judgemental attitude. Why do we automatically see different as something bad? He spoke about having a P4C in class and they had a discussion about bullying and that was when he first met Sam. His first impression of him is that he was scary and looked really mean but once he heard Sam speak and shed a couple of tears he felt as if the differences he saw in him in the beginning had faded away because he started to understand him and felt a connection. No matter what clothes you wear, what you look like, or where you come from we are all human and the differences we have should bring us together instead of spreading us apart. 
Mr.P noticed that some of the students weren’t getting involved into the discussion. He said “ you don’t have to blow minds, just say whatever because this class is intellectually safe”. In my head that made me think of myself when I was a freshman who didn’t really want to share out my thoughts because it didn’t sound as deep as someone else’s or someone might think what I said was stupid. The fear of judgement holds us back from showing our true thoughts. Now that I’m a senior and I could care less about what someone has to say about me being “different” or not being the smartest. This caused me to realize that intellectual safety is really important to the growth of a person mentally because of the fact that I know now that I have a voice and that there’s only one me in this world. Everyone has to understand that they have that voice and they don’t have to be ashamed of it because when we don’t say certain things, it leads to regret.

This discussion left me wondering what it would be like if more schools had the opportunity to have P4C discussions as often as Kailua High School does because I know there would be a change in their community as well. This had made me realize the importance of what we are doing as philoSURFERS and I wish that we could reach out to more schools but at least it’s a start. Now I ask myself, how can I better understand others despite the fact that we are all different?

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