Leveling the playing field

We are slowly eliminating hypocrisy in today’s culture; though it may not seem to happen as fast as you may think. As the LGBT community still struggles for equal rights to marry and live their lives more publicly, ten years ago it was much worse. Ten years ago, you couldn’t be a proud Muslim in this country without getting that ignorant stare. Twenty years ago, job industries were struggling to meet the demands of non-English speaking individuals and the influx of illegal immigrants, and now we see road signs and fast food menus in sometimes up to four different languages. Thirty years ago, women struggled with corporate promotions – and even though there are still narrow-minded people in the workplace, there isn’t much resistance left. Thirty years ago, people saw body art as a form of deviancy. Forty-plus years ago, black people had the same issues as women did in the 80’s on top of the racism and unfounded hatred. It wasn’t good to be Japanese seventy years ago, Irish a hundred years ago, and American Indian …well basically ever. Though these issues still exist today, the progress that we have made since then has been truly phenomenal; it’s evolution at its best. We are slowly becoming more cultured, less discriminatory, and overall accepting of people’s differences. The tables are being reversed; being prejudiced or intolerant is now the new thing to shun.

What’s going to be the new hurdle for our culture? The next thing to tackle is reverse discrimination. The playing field needs to level itself off and we need to progress towards a healthier and less stressful existence if we hope to survive.

In Florida, a Mormon student by the name of Ryan Rotela was suspended from the Davie Campus of Florida Atlantic University because he refused to stomp on the name of Jesus. Though the news only reported this in Florida yesterday (3-21-13), the incident happened nearly a month ago. The student refused to do it during a demonstration by his professor at his Intercultural Communications class, because the act of stepping on something signifies that you devalue it, and the student wouldn’t have ever thought of defacing something as important to him as Jesus Christ.

Mormonism, a religion branching off from Christianity, is a religion from the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints. While they hold many Christian beliefs to be true, their religion has many recent (recent as in the grand scheme of things) events starting in the mid-1800’s that aren’t a part of other Christian religions. Point being: Jesus Christ is still at the center of their religion, and stomping on any kind of representation of that would be a sin. Rotela refused to do it, and after complaining to the professor’s superior a couple of days after that class, Rotela was suspended for it. Whether or not Rotela’s actions surrounding the refusal and complaint would merit some kind of discipline – that is completely unknown.

But there is one thing that I do know… If you erase Jesus in this story and insert ANY other religion’s deity like Muhammad or Allah from Islam, Buddha from Buddhism, or even historical figures like Martin Luther King Junior or Princess Diana, there would have been no way that this story would have stayed quiet for so long. People would burn themselves in the street, they would have had to put that professor under an order of protection, Rotela would be labeled a hero, and the school would be under the strictest scrutiny from our government, several religious groups, crazy fanatics, and your run-of-the-mill nutballs that take things way too far. Instead, it took several instances of outrage from Rotela himself to get a headlining story for people to see that something is wrong here.

The fact that a story like this didn’t grab at the wizards of media is befuddling at best. If we are going to be outraged by one religion getting smashed, then why not be outraged at the largest religion getting defaced? Christianity, including all of its sects, is practiced by a third of the world’s population. Followed closely by Islam, Atheist/nonbeliever, and Hinduism[1], Christianity has an estimated 2.1 billion followers in the world. The three largest populations of Christianity are located in the Western Hemisphere – USA, Brazil, and Mexico. Just because a majority is large, seemingly everywhere, and vested in history doesn’t mean that they should be disregarded, that they don’t have feelings like anyone else, and should be any less respected.

If this were a non-Caucasian person, this would have been blown up in the media as a classic case of racism or prejudice. Hands down. This case is proof that reverse discrimination exists, and that it’s the next hurdle in the evolution of our culture. Now that we’re seeing the narrow-minded hardened in their way individuals slowly pass on, we have a very important job to show the people of our future that any kind of prejudice is a primitive way to think and that we have no place in our society for it. The playing field has to be leveled – majorities and minorities of race, religion, gender, and life decisions shouldn’t hold any weight in most decisions. It’s key in our survival. We can either continue to hate and kill each other, discriminate and show our children the ancient way of living, or we can focus on the future – sustaining life for millennia to come.