By Kevin Sheehan, Special Columnist
“Vivus: An Exposition Of A Volatile Mind” by Kevin Sheehan is available in digital and in print on Amazon.com!
Regardless of weekly content, this column is designed to help others expand their way of thinking and promote creativity, empathy, and thought in general.
This next Tuesday will mark the 17th year anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. I am sure most of us remember where we were when we got the news. I myself was in my 6th grade social studies class. My teacher, Mrs. Wren (I always had a crush on her), had stepped out of the classroom for a few minutes, and then came back to share the news.
A tragedy that ended lives gave birth to acts of heroism. Many personnel went to New York to help with the Search-and-Rescue, while the news spouted of theories as to what actually happened, who did it, and why. Regardless if you agree with the media’s portrayal of events, one thing is certain: a lot of life was lost that day.
The death count came just shy of 3,000 people, while injuring more than twice that amount as well. An attack to inspire fear and to promote hatred came with a large price – the price that the families of 3,000 people initially had to pay. That doesn’t include the aftermath as well. Wars started, racism towards middle-eastern people, regardless of religion, intensified.
Sikhs, who were tortured by Muslims for refusing to convert, gained attention by Americans, who confused them with Muslims because of the Turban that Sikhs wear. Sikhs, who were not even associated with Muslims, became victims of violent and discriminatory attacks, right here on our soil.
I want to take a moment and just say how much I actually hate having written that previous paragraph. While descriptions were necessary, using terminology like that clearly divides the groups involved, and separates them down to a level beyond what I care to do.
The way I see it (and forgive me if you feel I speak in ignorance), the 9/11 attacks weren’t an attack on just Americans. It was an attack on humanity, and the collateral damage from those attacks extend all the way down to our day. While people have died in one day, the damage lingers for an eternity. They say that in a person’s final moments that their true nature comes out. We have many examples of heroics from that day that can help restore our faith in humanity. Sadly, since that day, the virus of racism has degraded the very structure of humanity.
If only we, as a mass, could see that we are humans, that it doesn’t matter if we are black or white, American or not. But these titles, these attributes that we allow us to define us more than our personalities, they are a wall in which society has built to keep us from being peaceful. After all, it is hard to extort someone who needs nothing.
While we may have physical borders, we need to release the borders of our mind and see that people are people. Should other people be allowed to hurt others? Absolutely not. But we can’t define a person based just on physical attributes. We reduce people, we make them less valuable, every time we define them by racial or physical traits. Because it really doesn’t matter what you or I look like, as long as we remember we are humans. We breathe. We feel. We have emotions. And much like most everyone else, all we want is humanity, and for humanity to live in peace.
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