As a Jew, my family values Jewish traditions and learnings. My mother has an obsession of the history of the holocaust. She has sat me through hundreds of movies that involve the holocaust in some way or the other whether it was the uprising of the Nazi party or post World War II with Adolf Eichmann. What strikes me the most after reading books and watching movies about these historic events is, how does someone psychologically become to believe racest, sexest, homophobic, anti-semitic etc views on the world? All my life, I have been told that the Nazi’s were evil and inhumane people, but how did they become that way? Are these horrid people born with something wrong in their brain, or are they just selfish, corrupt with power humans.
Before I get into the details about how a human-being becomes to act as if a superior to others, we as a nation need to realize that racism is still continuing in our country. According to the guardian, by Jon Swaine, Oliver Laughland, Jamiles Lartey, and Ciara Mccarthy, “Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015.” I am not trying to portray that all police officers are corrupt with the power of the law, but statistics show that African American citizens of our country are more likely to be killed by a fellow American. I was disgusted by what I found which were civilians of their own country were treating each other. After further research, I had come up with a question towards police officials, what are the laws implied for police officers that put them in a situation where they have to use lethal weapons? Michael Jenkins, a University of Scranton assistant professor of criminal justice, said “So much police training, from beginning to end, deals with police facing the fact that even the most innocuous circumstance can result in an officer’s death,” When police officers are put in a situation that they might think is possibly dangerous, they are not protecting justice, but instead themselves. Would a police officer think an African American is more dangerous than a coc-asian given that they are in the same situation? I believe that some people in this world would think that a black person maybe more dangerous than a white person. Although this may be wrong, I ask myself, what had initially started or caused in our society to drive these beliefs?
Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot by neighborhood watch in Miami Gardens, Florida.
When trying to find the answer to this question, I remembered all the movies and books I experienced on the holocaust. From this, I found that religion is a major cause of the Jewish holocaust and many other instances. According to the website “United States Holocaust Memorial Museum”, it states when Hitler came to power, he raged about the ideas of the German race. In his speeches, Hitler would spread his beliefs in “racial purity” and the superiority of the German race. The pure population to the world in Hitler’s mind is German, blonde hair, blue eyes, White, and Christian. If you do not follow one of those characteristics, you would be shunned in German eyes. This is not fair in today's or hundreds of years ago’s society. Just because one may claim that a religion is superior to another, does not mean that someone has to be looked down on based on their personal beliefs.
Adolf Hitler speaking at one of his rallys
As we know today, homosexuality is completely normal in our society and should not be frowned upon in anyway. It has taken an abnormal amount of time for our own country to legalize same sex marriage. Not until June 26, 2015, same sex marriage was illegal in fourteen states, according to BBC News. I can not believe with my own eyes that in the early stages of the twenty first century, we had not legalized something that allows many people to be who they really are. I traced back to how this initial ban started and have concluded that the Christian Bible has influenced our great nation in too many ways. According to David Lose of The Huffington Post, “There are two verses in the book of Leviticus that refer to homosexual behavior. The first reads, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (18:22). While the second goes even further: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them” (20:13)”. Whoever created these passages in the Christian Bible was obviously not from today's times. Many members of our society have chosen not to change with time, but continue these beliefs. Even These interpretations that people have on the Bible have only made the worst come out of us.
Reactions the day same-sex marriage legalized
To do further research on this topic, I read the book Honor Girl, by Maggie Thrash. This graphic-novel describes a young girl named Maggie, who has discovered that she is gay at a Christian sleepover camp. The author goes into detail on what goes through someone's mind when exploring their sexuality physically and mentally. Maggie finds herself out of place at her camp because based on the beliefs of Christianity that everyone else follows, she is considered different. Maggie finds herself connecting with an older counselor who happens to also be gay. The book goes through the feelings and emotions Maggie and the counselor go through during their time together at camp. After reading this book, I gained an understanding that is was hard and awkward for Maggie to even come out to her best friend. I now realize from this book that our society is not very accepting of people with differences, and this needs to be changed. I can not imagine what it would feel like to not be wanted in a community. We as humans need to be more accepting to people that have differences compared to us. Whether it is supporting someone who had come out or just being a friend, we need to change society today so that everyone is accepted.
Do you feel comfortable walking on the streets in your neighborhood? According to statistics conducted by Andrew Dugen from The Gallup, 63% of people feel comfortable walking around their neighborhood, while 37% do not feel comfortable in America. In Wichita, Kansas, a grandmother of two biracial children received a threatening letter from one of their neighbors which read, “...This neighborhood does not need any blacks in it, There is a reason for the saying, ‘The other side of the tracks.’ That is where these people belong. You have done a great disrespect in this neighborhood by not thinking of your neighbors.” This is evidence that racism is still here in our very own country. Can you believe that little innocent children are being judged by the color of their skin? Parts of our country still do not believe in equal rights for all. This needs to change, as we know now that no one race or religion is superior to another.
Letter that family from Wichita, Kansas received
Now, going back to the question, “How does someone psychologically come to believe racest, sexest, homophobic, anti-semetic etc views on the world?” I have come to believe after exposing myself to information about police brutality towards African Americans, the uprising of Nazi anti-semitic beliefs, the Bible's interpretation on homosexuality, and racist beliefs within our country, that humans are extremely influential. Being influential is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just a trait that all humans share. I realized this after watching another movie with my mom about the uprising of the Nazi holocaust. This movie shared Hitler’s emotional and powerful speeches that intrigued the German public. As I said before (paragraph 3) that Hitler raged about how Germany and its people were superior to all others. These followers of Hitler heard what they wanted to hear, basically that they were the best. Because of this, these followers became influenced by Hitler and came to believe that they were actually the superior race. This not only fits Hitler’s uprising, but also involves racial beliefs around the world. For an example, our very own country believed at a time that African Americans were inferior to Whites. Although now that most of our country has realized that this is wrong, these ideas have influenced families and communities so much that these racist beliefs exist today as was shown with the family from Wichita, Kansas (paragraph 6). Next time I am watching watching a movie or reading a book for school about World War II, I now know that this was all caused by the power of influential people.