These days we can’t turn on the television, listen to the radio, or even look at social media without seeing some form of hate, intolerance, or bigotry. No matter what you believe, what political party you support, or what color you are, there is someone who believes you’re wrong or unnatural. This type of bullying used to be made up of adult-on-adult aggression, but recently we’ve seen more adults attacking juveniles.
As adults, we are responsible for teaching the future generation—regardless of their age, sexual preference, or race—how to function in a society that harbors people from all walks of life. Lately, this has been a challenge that seems to get worse with each passing day.
We see white women assaulting and calling the police on black children who are merely visiting friends at a swimming pool or selling water on a hot day to people without a permit. Children have no say in the color of their skin, yet they are being punished in the streets for belonging to a certain culture or race. Now, we are even seeing children being attacked by adults for their political affiliations.
Recently, a 16-year-old boy named Hunter Richard was assaulted in a burger joint by an adult who felt offended by the young man’s choice of fashion. The teen boy wore a “Make America Great Again” hat, and as a result, felt the wrath of an adult male who was leaving the restaurant. When the man saw the hat, he walked over to the teen, cursed him out, pulled his hair and then threw water in the teen’s face—all before finally snatching the hat off the teen and leaving the establishment with it.
“I support my President and would rather have a conversation about it with someone who disagrees rather than having them curse me and rip my hat off,” stated Richard regarding the incident. Although the man who assaulted the teen was later arrested, this is still sending a message to youth that what they believe, support, or value will lead to their being harmed if it does not fall in line with the general consensus.
Intolerance is the new tolerance
Instilling fear into young adults is the norm within a society that now values the art of dictating what a person should or should not value. We punish young people for exerting their independence—something that is necessary for independent living and future leadership—and we teach them that a lack of tolerance toward people who are different in any way is the norm.
This is leading our nation into a hole that we will struggle to get out of if we do not take the time to realize the danger in the lessons that we are teaching our youth. What will adults who practice this intolerance do when they find out that their lessons have led young people to become intolerant of elders later in life? To find that new laws will become enacted that will simply toss them (as older members of society) out to make way for more productive members of society? Adults can’t and shouldn’t ignore the fact that teaching intolerance to children will negatively affect all Americans in the end.