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Acceptance

"To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater." — Bono

Acceptance. This is an interesting word.

Most people talk about tolerance when talking about peace and respect. But we think tolerance is just a way to ignore differences and still judge someone in a nicer way. Acceptance means we have to try to understand and respect those differences, to really look at them, even if we don’t agree with them. We accept those people for being different. ‘Cause aren’t we all?

Diversity

Every day, we receive messages about who we should be from those around us and through the media. It's like having voices in our head that tell us how and what to think.

Many of these messages, however, are stereotypes that can be harmful and cause us to treat people differently because of how they look or act. This is called prejudice and discrimination.

These messages also tell us how we should look and act, when maybe we don't look a certain way or are uncomfortable acting a certain way.These stereotypes can be harmful.They can stifle individuality and creativity, as well as hold back personal growth and cause us to do things that are not good for us.

 

 

Diversity among people makes life interesting, and accepting others as they are without judgment helps promote peace in your community.

"We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny. An inescapable network of mutuality. I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  

Forget about stereotypes; they almost always do not apply.

A stereotype can be defined as a judgment made about a group of people based on only a small amount of information. Stereotypes exaggerate beyond the facts and often use words like all, none, always, never and every. Some examples would be: Athletes are never smart. Teenagers are not respectful of adults. People who wear glasses are always very smart. Girls do not like sports. Blondes are always ditzy.

When we stereotype, we assume that a person has characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have. Stereotypes lead to categorizing, which is one of the reasons for prejudiced attitudes (“them” and “us” thinking) which leads to in-groups and out-groups.

Gender stereotyping is a disadvantage to both males and females; it can damage self-image and may limit expectations of themselves and each other.

Traditionally, the female stereotype is to marry and have children, be loving, caring, nurturing, and to be sexy and beautiful.

The male stereotype is to be the financial provider, assertive, competitive, strong, handsome, career-minded, hold his emotions in check, and always initiate sex.

Gay men and lesbians work in a variety of jobs and lead a variety of lifestyles. Not all gay men know how to cook, wear tight clothes, and love to shop or sing along with old musicals. Not every lesbian has short hair and walks around dressed and acting like a man. People in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community come in all shapes and sizes.

Also, accept the fact that the ability to love or care for another is not solely related to sexuality: love has no gender.  For example, gay relationships are built and based on the same foundations as straight ones: mutual attraction, love, respect and trust. 

The more time you spend around different people and cultures, the more you realize that they’re just people, same as you.

 Acceptance trumps stereotypes

  • Never judge a person on your first impression which is often about how he or she looks.
  • Use a critical eye when viewing media, try to identify the underlying messages being sent.
  • Check yourself for biases, work to overcome them.
  • Treat everyone with the same degree of respect you expect from others.
  • Try to embrace differences, learn from them, and not be afraid of them.
  • See the person as an individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

 

NO ONE HAS TO ACCEPT THE LIMITS OF STEREOTYPES.

WE ALL HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHAT MAKES SENSE FOR OURSELVES.

For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong,
there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he is vulnerable.

For every by who is burdened with the constant expectation of
knowing everything,
there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence.

For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive,
there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep.

For every boy for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity,
there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes.

For every girl who throws out her E-Z Bake Oven,
there is a boy who wishes to find one.

For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires,
there is a girl facing the ad industry’s attacks on her
self-esteem.

For every girl who takes a step toward her liberation,
there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier.

Adapted from a poem “For Every Woman” by Nancy R. Smith