Prejudice

Prejudice is when someone has an unjustified or incorrect attitude towards an individual based on that individual’s membership in social groups. I believe that prejudice is typically, and more prominently, negative, but I believe that prejudice, by definition, has the ability to have a positive side too.

Usually when we think of prejudice in a negative sense, thoughts of stereotypes follow.  Prejudice that is negative occurs when people develop attitudes towards individuals that are demeaning, offensive, etc. For example, someone who develops the attitude towards black people that they are dangerous and can not be trusted. This sort of attitude targets an individual who is part of a racial social group. This leads to stereotypes that black people are criminals for example. Prejudicial attitudes can also develop around other social groups such as gender and sexual orientation.

However, I believe that there is another side to prejudice. I believe that the basis of the concept of prejudice can be given a positive spin. For example, if you apply the same definition to a different scenario, it can still be classified as prejudice but it will have a more positive outcome. Taking into consideration an idea like someone who has the attitude that homosexuals have better jobs is positive. However, it may not necessarily be true, just like the prejudice that black people are criminals.

Despite the fact that prejudice can have the rare occurrence of a positive outcome, prejudice in general needs to be eliminated. Continuing prejudice leads to one party like an outcast no matter what. For example, using the negative attitude towards black people, black people are the ones who end up feeling oppressed and ostracized. Then, in the example of a “positive” prejudice, homosexuals having better jobs, heterosexuals are left feeling inferior and disadvantaged.

I believe that stereotyping and prejudice go hand in hand and to fully eliminate prejudice, we have to tackle stereotyping at the same time. We can make a difference in the world by being educated ourselves and educating others on prejudice and stereotyping. We can also do our part in keeping an open mind and recognizing people as individuals, not as a group. By doing this, we avoid giving power to prejudice and stereotyping which fuel each other, and in the end, we can end up with a more accepting world.

Racial Inequalities

The following is the link to an article about racial inequalities that recently read:

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2012/03/20/the_persistence_of_racial_inequality_in_canada.html

Summary: This article talks about the forms or racism that still exist in Canada today. It points out how African American people are mistreated through a variety of ways such as being considered a greater crime threat and undergoing more surveillance then white people. It also mentions the wage gap between African American people and white people. Aboriginal struggles are also highlighted, pointing out that racial injustices are not solely between African Americans and whites but also a variety of different minorities. The article discusses how a large amount of Aboriginal people live in poverty and do not have access to a variety of basic necessities. It also stresses the unemployment/underemployment rates in minority groups to reinforce the statement made about the inequalities in Canada. The article is concluded by encouraging people to work towards the goal of making racial justice a reality in Canada as so many are under the impression that Canada is free of racial injustices.

This article makes me feel almost ashamed. Racial injustices are something barely spoken about today, giving off the illusion that they are no longer an issue. However, to learn how much people are still suffering from it is truly eye-opening. I also feel angry on behalf of the people who are not being treated equally. I could not imagine being watched thoroughly by security based solely on my skin colour for example.

I also feel moved by this article because it reminds me of gender inequality which is another issue not given a lot of attention today. There is overlap between these two issues such as wage gap. What stuck out to me in this article was the fact that African American people earn less than white people. Similarly, men earn more than women. This allows me to gain perspective on what some of the struggles people dealing with racial inequalities are faced with, even though I will never be able to fully understand.

This article makes me feel as though this issue should be talked about more and that more people should be educated on this because that is how change will occur. If people remain in the dark on this subject, uneducated to how prevalent it is even to this day, they will not be encouraged to fight for it because they will think that it does not exist. If more people knew of the topic, it will be easier to fight it. People educated on the topic may feel strongly about it and want to make a difference. Those individuals can then join together in protests or rallies and such to provoke change.

The Impact of Music

If you have ever really listened to some of your favourite songs, behind the addicting melodies and smooth voices of popular artists, there are often very specific stories and messages that artists try to convey. These messages are heard in the impactful lyrics which can often require a bit of inferring from the listener in order to fully understand what the message really is. Sometimes the message is not blatantly stated and the artist crafts a story composed of metaphors and such other tactics to try to say something.

I believe that songs with some sort of message are more impactful to the listener than a song composed purely of meaningless rambling. Language is a powerful thing and when songs send out particular messages in beautifully gathered notes and thoughtful lyrics, it impacts the listener by allowing them to be emotionally swayed by the music and to help them to really be engaged in the song and comprehend and interpret the lyrics. When music allows for this connection, it personally makes me want to listen to it more because songs can often provide me a sense of specific emotions such as comfort, inspiration, happiness, and make me feel virtually limitless.

Personally, I believe that the more powerful songs created have come from those who turn their experiences into a song. If an artist creates a song about something that has not personally affected their life in some way, then the song will not be as raw and emotional which are elements you can pull from songs that do use personal touches. Lack of personal experiences make the song seem fake and makes me question how the composer can expect to create a song with such a message about something they have never been affected by. A song written from experiences allows for the artist to have more of a connection with consumers of the music who may be going through, or have gone through, similar situations. When I am able to feel more connected to an artist, I feel more encouraged to listen to more of their music. Also, all the artists I favour, are the ones whose music I can connect to the most.

I also find music with strong, real emotion to be impactful on me as it really makes me feel as though I can understand some of the hardships that artists talk about in their music. It also trains me to search for deeper meanings in other songs and develop skills to help me read between the lines of other compositions.

Overall, I also find that being able to connect to a song creates a gateway for me to feel more connected to the artist and allows for me to feel an array of emotions from the piece. Improving skills that help me to be able to interpret a message is also helpful for me with writing. A lot of powerful songs are very indirect with their meanings and I have been able to pick up on some of the styles and implement them into my writing compositions.

Fire

The thick smoke pours through the cracks and crevices of the door and billows into the room. The room clouds over in a matter of a few minutes with suffocating fumes filling every inch of it. The heat intensifies and the vicious flames eat through and demolish the door that encloses the prison that the room has become. The wailing of the alarm is almost drowned out by the roar of the inferno. The rapid fire begins to explore the room and consumes everything in its path as it stretches closer to Sarah, who cowers in fear. The room seems to melt in the presence of the powerful flames which menacingly lick the ceiling and crawl across the floor, devouring nearly the entirety of the room. Sarah pulls helplessly at the window as she is chased by the bloodthirsty fire. She smashes the glass out with a lamp on her bedside table as the flames begin to cling to her shirt and start to singe it. She scrambles out of the jagged gap in the glass and into the yard, which promises safety. She rolls in the cool soil of the night to extinguish the satanic flames which have begun to bite at the tender flesh of her back. She drags herself away from the chaotic scene and watches, horrified as the relentless flames chew through her house. The floors weakened by the charring of the merciless conflagration give way and begin to crumble under the weight of the demolished room. The ferocious flames sink with it, yet hang onto the walls which are still, yet barely, standing. Soon, they too give way and a charred heap of disarrayed rubble is all that is left of Sarah’s home. Help arrives, yet it is too late to stop the atrocity that has become of a careless mistake.

Inspiration From the Written Works of Roth

Veronica Roth is who I would consider an extraordinary writer. After reading her books I have found that she has personally affected my life specifically by shaping the way that I create my own works and by encouraging me to broaden my vocabulary.

I have always had a passion for writing whether it be poetry, stories, essays, etc. However, it was not until I first read Divergent in 2013, that I really felt that my creativity had been impacted. Her story shone a light on creative literature for me. The way she described scenarios, molded characters, and created detailed backstories to characters that you uncovered the further you delved into her convoluted story was mesmerizing to me. Her way of stringing words together to create an entire world in your mind was an indisputable skill, of which I wished to possess. She made me strive to add more depth to my stories, more detail, and to stray away from topics already thoroughly explored by other authors. From here my imagination blossomed and I was creating works unlike what I had ever created before. Divergent was the inspiration for me to really allow myself to create longer works and provide more detail in the pieces I was composing.

Her vocabulary is also something that stood out to me. Divergent was the first book I read where I was engaged enough in the story that I actually looked up words I did not understand as opposed to skipping over them. Thus, my vocabulary began to expand and I was inspired to use larger words to create more powerful works.

Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy is also the first series I have liked enough to keep reading. By the time I finished the first book I had gained some sort of addiction which I fed by hunting for the second book. I chewed through both books in a couple of days and soon after I had finished her second book Insurgent, I found myself craving more. The wait was long, but finally, the third book came into my possession and was quickly digested in a few days.

I was also able to connect with Roth’s stories. In Divergent I related to feeling lost in a huge society, pondering where my place was in the world before me. Reading this book felt empowering and gave me a sense of hope that I could find my place and be satisfied with the position I would hold in society.

In Insurgent, I related to Tris feeling pressured by the choices she had to make and the inevitable consequences of those choices. It provided me with a feeling of knowing that I was not alone because the protagonist’s life was being followed and I was able to see how her choices in dealing with the situation she was presented with impacted her life. I was also able to grasp the effects of her choices on herself due to the constant thought processes narrated in the book.

Finally, when I read Allegiant, I was able to relate to the protagonist feeling the pressure to make decisions that will be in the best interest for her loved ones. I also relate to the tie with genetics and can pull connections from the theme to better understand the message of it in the book. Genetics play a big role as people are either classified as “damaged” or “pure.” The protagonist believes that the condition of someone’s genes does not define who they are or make them different because they would still be the same character that the protagonist knows and cares for. Likewise, I am reminded of the different types of intelligence people can possess such as musical and naturalistic. They are both in fact a type of intelligence and whether you have one, the other, or a different one, it is still an intelligence and does not change the person you are and that you are still smart. Whether the character is “damaged” or “pure,” they are still their own unique person and that can not be changed, much like the type of intelligence you possess does not make you any less of an intelligent person.

Roth’s works have truly opened my eyes and my mind to a new world of creativity of which I try to apply to my own creations. They have shed light on a variety of topics for me and have allowed for me to be inspired. Whether it affected how I write something or how I interpreted an issue, either universal or personal, her books have changed my way of thinking. I have become more analytical of my work, have striven to make improvements, and have tried to incorporate more universal themes to try and make my works more relatable to my audience.

When it Rains it Pours

Mrs. Ebbers sat quietly at the table, her hands folded in her lap. She avoided eye contact with her husband of 25 years.

“Margery,” he said. Still she avoided his eye. He sighed heavily and pulled his chair closer to her. “Margery, you can’t -” he was abruptly interrupted by the sound of the front door swinging open and their seventeen-year-old daughter Avery marching in, giggling with her friend Sarah. “We’ll talk later,” he said. The girls entered the kitchen and Avery rummaged through the refrigerator before emerging with two colas. “Hello girls,” Mr. Ebbers cheered.

“Hey sir,” Sarah smiled. Mrs. Ebbers sat there, curling her fingers around a hot cup of tea placed on the table in front of her. Her eyes were filled with hurt and her slouched posture emitted defeat.

“Excuse me everyone,” she said grimly before rising and exiting the room. Everyone was silent until her footsteps traipsing up the nearby staircase disappeared and the barely audible sound of a door closing followed. Worry crossed Avery’s face and she turned to her father.

“What’s wrong with mum?” she asked with concern seeping into her voice. “Did someone die?” she continued. Her mother never acted this way and was always thrilled to see Sarah.

“No, no one died. Just uh… just a rough day at work,” Mr. Ebbers stuttered out, clearly searching for an excuse to latch onto. Avery pouted at her father. He opened his mouth as if to add something else but brought a hand to the back of his neck briefly before turning on heel and removing himself from the room. Sarah glanced over at Avery.

“Should I leave?” she asked. “Everything seems kind of…” she trailed off.

“No,” Avery protested resting a hand on Sarah’s arm before slumping into a chair. She opened her pop and the fizzing of the bubbles filled the silent room. Soon Sarah followed and opened her pop before taking a seat next to Avery.

The sun began to set signifying the usual time that Sarah would leave to go home for dinner. Avery rose from her seat. “Be right back,” she said. She disappeared briefly and came back a moment later. “Would you like to stay the night?” she offered Sarah. After all it was a Friday evening.

Sarah offered a small smile to her friend before saying, “Sure, I’ll just go ask my parents.” She excused herself and stepped into the adjoining room. Avery could tell something was not right with her parents, and as curious as she was, she feared knowing. Having Sarah spend the night would delay having to find out the inevitable heartache she knew was to come. “Yeah, I can spend the night,” Sarah said stepping back into the kitchen. “My mum’s going to drop off a bag for me in about twenty minutes,” she added.

“Great.” Avery said mustering a fake smile. “Let’s order pizza.” She said with a smirk. She took Sarah’s arm and the two headed up to her bedroom.

Avery’s parents never came back down to the kitchen and the house was unusually silent for the remainder of the night. Before the girls headed to bed they crept downstairs to steal another slice of pizza. Something caught Avery’s eye on the sofa before she headed into the kitchen. She glanced over and studied the figure curled up on the couch in the living room. A slight snore confirmed that it was her father. Her face melted into a frown. Sarah watched her friend’s expression and wrapped her arms around her sensing that something was wrong. Avery tossed her a small unconvincing smile and they grabbed their pizza and climbed back up the stairs. Avery could not help stealing peaks over her shoulder at her father’s stiff, uncomfortably positioned body.

The morning of the next day was met with more gloom as the dark clouds drizzled an abundance of small raindrops over the city. The droplets beating against Avery’s window was comforting, like an uncommon lullaby soothing her to sleep. Yelling and heavy footsteps down the stairs ripped her from her slumber. Avery rubbed at her eyes, struggling to grasp a sense of alertness. She turned to an equally confused Sarah and the two quietly snuck out of Avery’s bedroom and listened intently on the drama unfolding below them. Avery’s heartbeat was in her throat and she caught glimpses of the scene.

“I’m done Bradley,” Her mum bellowed at her father.

“Margery, please,” he pleaded. She whipped open the front door. The girls strained to listen but Avery’s parents got very quiet.

“We are going out!” Avery’s mum hollered at the girls who unbeknownst to her were crouched atop the staircase observing the chaos. The two filed out the door and closed it firmly behind them. Avery rose quickly and raced to a window overlooking the driveway where she watched her parents get into the car and drive away. She turned back to Sarah with her mouth agape. Sarah cautiously began approaching Avery, her eyebrows furrowed with worry.

“You know what we should do?” Sarah asked softly. Avery gave a half-hearted shrug, avoiding looking at her friend directly. “We should go hang out on the swings in your backyard like we always did as kids when one of us was upset,” Sarah suggested, wrapping a comforting arm around her friend’s waist. Avery gave her a small smile accompanied by a slight nod and the pair headed downstairs.

The car pulled into a parking spot at the grocery store. Bradley glanced at his wife who had begun crying softly. The car ride had been silent from the driveway to the parking lot.

“Margret,” Bradley said turning off the car and adjusting himself to face his wife. “I know you’re mad at me, but you have to understand I have a right to be happy too, and I don’t think I can be any longer with you. Sometimes two people just fall out of love.”

“Don’t,” she spat. Her tears began flowing heavier and her voice shook with a mixture of rage and sadness. “I still love you,” She said bitterly. “It’s you who fell out of love with me.”

He sighed heavily and paused before saying, “I still love you, but I’m not in love with you.” She rolled her eyes disgustedly.

“You should talk to me about what’s bothering you in our marriage instead of bottling it up and tucking it away,” she said quietly.

“I know,” he started. “I just don’t think we are working out anymore.” He paused before finishing as gently as possible, “I really do want a divorce. I want you to consider it this time without giving me the silent treatment. Please.” She angrily swatted at the tears that streaked her face.

“If that’s what you want,” she said, her voice breaking. “Divorce it is,” she concluded. She turned away from him. He nodded despite being fully aware that she would not see it. He pressed his lips in a line and turned the car on, flicking the wipers on to clear the windshield before putting the car into reverse and began a seemingly long car ride home, once again in utter silence.

Avery’s feet dangled from the swing as she gently swayed on the childhood structure in her backyard, keeping her glance fixated downward. Sarah filled the swing next to her, carefully observing her friend, unsure of what to say. The small droplets of rain continued to fall, moistening the already soggy ground. Avery inhaled deeply and moved her head upward where she caught sight of the partially dilapidated area of the fence that bordered their yard. The entire fence was mostly intact except for three planks of wood that were falling apart. Avery saw her family in these planks. Around them was everyone who seemed to have their lives together, and then there was her family who seemed to be falling apart. The sound of an engine caught her attention and the girls hurried back inside.

“Oh, that’s my mum,” Sarah said glancing out the window. She gathered her things and pulled Avery in for a final hug. “Good luck with everything,” she whispered to Avery as they embraced each other before Sarah climbed into the car and drove away.

Avery waited impatiently for her parents to arrive. When the time did come, the rain had picked up. The wind had become vicious, and the sky roared and crackled. Avery could tell her mother had been crying, but she was not anymore. Her parents sat down with her on the couch. The same one she saw her father sleeping on. She shifted uncomfortably at the memory. They broke the news to her as gently as they could.

“Your father and I are getting a divorce,” said her mum finally after dancing around the delicate topic. Avery’s eyes glistened and her mum’s began to as well and they embraced. The moment did not last too long before a bolt of lightning struck the three boards on the fence, severing them from the rest of the planks. Avery thought again of how they represented her family. This time though, she thought of how it compared with the news she had just received. The planks of wood severed from the rest of the fence mirroring the fact that her family was splitting apart, no longer whole. She began to cry harder, while squeezing her mother tighter. She reached back and pulled her father in too, all the while continuing squeezing them both, as if trying to push them back together after they have grown apart.