by A. M., Milton, MA
Prejudice. What do you think of when you see or hear this word? Webster's Dictionary defines prejudice as "a judgment or opinion formed without knowing the facts, or hatred and fear of other races, creeds, or nations." I have experienced many prejudicial encounters during my life that have led me to agree with the second part more than the first. Although none of them were directed toward me, but at my friends, who are of different ethnic backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientations, I still took offense. No one should ever have to become the center of prejudicial comments or actions because of their differences.
This has been a serious problem in our society since the start of this nation. It remains so today, and will continue if we don't begin to correct it now. This problem must be recognized and addressed as soon as possible in order to protect the rights of every human being, no matter what their religion, color, sexual preference or background. Everyone was created equal and they should be treated as such. Prejudice makes people feel inferior and less of a person. They begin to feel that because they are different, they are doing something wrong. No one should have to feel that way.
There really is only one solution to this problem: we must try to educate people about other races, nations, religions and sexual orientations. It may be a tough job, but if enough people are willing to at least try, we may be able to change things even a little. Every bit will help. It may be too late to change the minds and opinions of adults who have already made up their minds, but if we teach young children, we can affect them before they, too, become prejudiced.
I believe that if we begin now, and try, we can change the future for the better. It may be a hard job, but if we are willing to try, that's a step in the right direction.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.