The Golden Rule

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ChristinaBy: CHRISTINA CLARK
Columnist
clark66@umail.iu.edu

On the heels of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Olympic champion, motivational speaker and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” star, Bruce Jenner, as he spoke for the first time publicly about being transgender and being true to himself, my last column for The Preface will be about acceptance. As a local issue and a global one, this is a social issue that has plagued the human race through the ages.
For those of you who pay attention to pop culture news, you will know there has been speculation on what the heck Bruce Jenner is doing to himself for years. Really, as fun as it was to speculate, it really was not anyone’s business until he wanted to it to be. It is quite empowering, no matter how you identify, to take ownership of who you are and what you are, and Jenner spoke to that during the interview.
He spoke about his concerns with his family, and about how finally being true to himself was what he needed. It was a fantastically candid interview that helped bring gravity to a situation many Americans do not have a good handle on.
With old-school bullying and snide and snarky comments, back handed compliments, the threat of physical assault, hurtful sarcasm along with the addition of cyber bullying, it can be a scary world in which to be yourself sometimes. It is hard to speak about who you are and what you need. It really should not be, but it is.
It is heartbreaking to hear stories of those who feel so unvalued and unloved that they do the inevitable and take their own lives rather than feeling forced to endure a struggle that they feel they will never overcome. The “It Gets Better” campaign on YouTube inspired many and helped ignite the conversation that needed to happen surrounding teenagers and young adults coming out, but there needs to be more.
I am intentionally avoiding specific language because everyone has a unique struggle in their life. You may never know that the person next to you is wrestling with something that threatens to debase their current way of life the entire time you sit in class. It is hard to remember that, just because someone is different, it does not mean that they are not human and do not deserve the same treatment as you would expect.
The first column I wrote for The Preface was about not judging someone for purchasing their food with food stamps while carrying an iPhone. In a similar fashion, judging someone’s situation from the outside is unfair and too quick. Disagreeing in a respectful manner and interacting in a respectful manner is so important whether it has to do with a perceived tax bracket, gender identification, sexuality, hair color, speech patterns, physical movements, et cetera.
Accepting and giving respect to all that surround you is incredibly important. From celebrities and public figures to the student sitting next to you in class, be open, kind and respectful to all that surround you. Building a community in uneasiness and disrespect will not get us anywhere good anytime soon.
I’d like to thank the Preface readers for their support and interaction, the Preface staff for their camaraderie and education, and everyone for allowing me this awesome opportunity to write a weekly column for you. I have been honored for the opportunity and will miss it as I move onward in my studies.

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