What It Means To Coexist

“Well, you’re lucky you look white!” Those are the words a woman, with a smile on her face, said to me after I finished telling her about my Hispanic ethnicity.

Because I do happen to have “white” features, I had never experienced any form of blatant discrimination before that, so I stood behind the desk at my part-time job semi-paralyzed from the shock of her words.

When I share this story, I don’t feel angry or victimized; I feel sad. Not a personal sense of sadness because, in hindsight, my experience is nothing in comparison to the discrimination others experience. But, rather, I feel sad because I realized through reflecting on this that there are many people who still genuinely think there are existing differences between people because of their skin color, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, etc.

In a small way, things are progressing for the better – people all over the world are writing articles about this very topic, while also sharing posts on Facebook or retweeting content demanding equality and peace among all people. But we can’t ignore that now more than ever, our society has created a large space for discrimination.

A travel ban makes us seem like we don’t welcome refugees as our own kind. Promising deportation makes us seem like we don’t embrace and thrive off diversity. Dismissing the Black Lives Matter movement makes us seem like we’ve made little progress in forms of equality. We must fight against all of this because our main priority, as human beings, ought to be coexistence and acceptance of all human beings as individuals belonging to no stereotype. Instead, we should look at each other as citizens of our shared world.

We are all human; we all breathe, feel, hurt, fear, bleed and exist in the same exact way, despite what we worship, who we find attractive, what the pigment of our skin is, what languages we speak, or what gender we identify as.

Coexistence means loving one another in order to live harmoniously in a world made up of many differences. Coexistence means disregarding stereotypes or stigmas in order to see people as individuals rather than as a race, gender or religion. Coexistence means valuing all the people in your world as equally important as you.

Coexistence refers to the most important type of love in humanity. Coexistence is the one thing we can’t afford to forget now more than ever.

 

Image Credit: spiritysol.com