Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, April 25, 2015

James Dickerson- Final Blog Post, Section 8-3

Have you ever found yourself desperately trying to have a friend see something from your point of view? Have you ever had that friend blindly disagree with you? “I believe what I believe, and I will never change my mind.” It’s this type of narrow-minded thinking that deprives this world of truth and brings about things such as racism, homophobia, and just plain hatred. I strive to be as open-minded as possible in my own life, because I know we are all different, and that’s okay. I myself have experienced and witnessed different forms of hatred and discrimination towards others, as I’m sure many of you have as well, and it’s time for a change.

open-minded by unico-indioWhen people are not open-minded, it creates a type of void that separates ideas and people alike. Many of these ideals are outdated and passed on from previous generations. According to a Poll done in 2012 by the Associated Press, 51% of Americans expressed anti-black sentiments. That’s a 3% increase from 2008. A report done by the Department of Justice also revealed that 17% of hate crimes are for religious reasons, while 21% are attributed to sexual orientation. In this day in age, those statistics should be a little jarring to hear. Narrow-minded attitudes are the reasoning behind these spiteful prejudices and actions, and it’s a shame it’s so prevalent.

I gave a survey to one of my communication classes, and one difference between us was our faith. I asked how many of them were religious. Surprisingly, the class split nearly 50/50. Many held a neutral stance on the subject, and maybe that’s because they were unsure what they believed or just generally avoided conflict. Either way, only half of the students said they were definitely religious. However, your religious preference does not dictate who you are. Your beliefs are your own personal faith, and is not the business of others. I also know it’s nearly impossible to persuade someone to change their beliefs. But it’s not about changing your beliefs, it’s about how open minded you are to those that differ from yours. And even people that share similar backgrounds can hold a different look on faith. Both me and Charlie share a military background, but where he's Christian, I'm an atheist. Regardless, we can still hold a civilized conversation and share our ideas in an open manner.

There are so many things out there that make each of us different, but there’s a way to get past the hate and fear of it all. The simplest solution, is to just act like a friend. Take an approach towards new ideas that is accepting and thoughtful. Be considerate of others. Be an active listener. Be open to new ideas. If you have ideals, attitudes, or beliefs that have never changed, don’t be afraid to question them. Seek the benefits of new found knowledge. Accept the idea of possibly being wrong, but see it as an opportunity for new horizons. Above all else, don’t be judgmental. 

Spend some time broadening your horizons, and find someone that is different than you. Whether that difference is their skin color, their beliefs, or who they find sexually attractive, explore those differences and let them open up your mind. Make a new friend, and celebrate your uniqueness. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you believe, or who you love. We are all humans just the same. Break down your barriers, get a little uncomfortable if you have to, and explore the world around you. The change starts with us, make it a change for the better. 



  1. I share your sentiment and loved this post. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object. That is the philosophical question that comes to mind for me when I read this.
    If we all kept an open mind and were willing to question our deepest beliefs, if only in search for truth and understanding, the world would be a better place.

  2. I had that poster on my wall, all through college! (But without attribution. I didn't know Zappa said it. Slightly more profound than "yellow snow"!)

    Solid advice: get out of the comfort zone, listen to people, broaden your perspective.

  3. This class has defintiely been one of the more vocal groups on our differences that I've participated in. It's nice to have a plethora of unique individuals willing to talk to each other.
    Multiple people have stated that quote. The saying is often credited to Thomas Dewar, who said in 1928, “"I have an open mind. Minds are like parachutes — they function only when they are open.” I like quoting it from Zappa though. Seems more fitting.

  4. I agree it does start with us, but more so it has to start with ourselves. As Michael Jackson put it, "I'm starting with the man in the mirror."

    1. Very true! I think we all could benefit from a long look in the mirror. Nothing is ever going to change or get better if we don't change ourselves first.