Eliminating Fear, Prejudice, and Hate to Help Our World Thrive in Peace Essay Example
Fear. Prejudice. Hate. Three of the most powerful words in our vocabulary. When I read those words, they invoke feelings of pain and sadness in my heart. They are the roots of the main issues we have in the world that break us apart from each other.
Fear, prejudice and hate are part of a vicious cycle I call “The War Cycle.” Below, I outline each of the steps in these cycles, and just how impactful they are in our society.
Usually, humankind will react in fear to situations or circumstances they do not understand. This, in turn, activates our fight, flight or freeze response in our minds. Fear, when left to fester, hardens us and closes us off from the people and activities we love.
Fear of change, differences, and even fear of ourselves can drive us to close off. It can be compared to closing the blinds on a window. When the blinds are open, light can shine through, just as opportunities, love, and understanding bring a figurative light to our lives. When we become afraid, we cut off that light, thus blinding ourselves and allowing our fears and doubts to grow stronger over time, until our rational thought has been permanently affected.
When fear collects enough power, it leads us to suspicion. That suspicion grows until we begin to judge those around us who think, believe, or act differently, or come from a different background.
Prejudice leads us to have preconceived notions of others. They stem from a lack of compassion and make harmful decisions towards others. I have dealt with prejudice towards me in my own life because of my race, culture, and familial situation.
In elementary school, I was belittled and bullied constantly because of my Hispanic heritage, mainly how it affected my physical appearance and personality, and I was also judged because I lived in a one-parent home. When we show prejudice towards minorities, like in my own case, it can cause a severe loss in self-esteem, depression, and despair.
When a feeling or a thought is acted upon, it becomes more extreme and intense unless intentional steps are taken against it. While prejudice originally comes from fear and lack of understanding, it can grow into hate.
Hatred, once developed, is extremely difficult to get rid of. It affects all areas of your life, dictating the people around you, where you go, and what you do.
Patrick Wanis, a behavioral researcher, states, “Hatred is driven by two key emotions of love and aggression: One love for the in-group—the group that is favored; and two, aggression for the out-group—the group that has been deemed as being different, dangerous, and a threat to the in-group.”
This War Cycle can be recognized in the actual wars that are a part of our history. The Holocaust is one example. The level of bigotry shown toward the millions of Jewish people killed began with fear, and eventually grew until they were hated, shunned, and eliminated from society.
We each have our own War Cycle to break down and destroy. Sometimes these cycles didn’t start with us, but have been passed down generationally, from grandparent to parent, parent to child. The wonderful news is that you can change the cycle into a positive one.
It’s definitely not easy to break down those cycles. We live in a war-driven culture. Violence is promoted in real life, on social media, and in our entertainment, and competition has become a way of life. Peace is seldom the option.
How to Live in Peace
We all have the power to choose peace in our lives. We can help change our governments and societies by having peace within ourselves and using it to help others. This can show up in the form of empathy, compassion, and love.
President Eisenhower had an inspirational vision to change these cycles of war and hatred. He left behind a legacy of prohibiting strife, relieving tension and banishing fears.
In President Eisenhower’s address “The Chance for Peace,” given on April 16, 1953, he shared 5 points on achieving peace in the world.
“First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.“
I share President Eisenhower’s belief that “God created men to enjoy, not destroy, the fruits of the earth and of their own toil.” We are all human, we share the same desires: freedom, peace, and happiness.
“Second: No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow nations.”
It’s only by working together that we can establish peace. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
By exchanging ideas, thoughts, and our own cultural behaviors with people of different countries and diverse cultures, we can expand our knowledge and together create an even more beautiful, unified world.
“Third: Any nation’s right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.”
Every human has the right to their own agency. We may not always agree, but we can respect each other through that. In that way, the power of friendship is an excellent way to help others break these barriers of bias and war cycles. Having friends who are the complete opposite of you places you outside of your comfort zone, but it can help create a lasting bond.
“Fourth: Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.”
Control creates rebellion, which leads to The War Cycle (on both sides of the argument) and a lack of peace. Releasing this need for control helps develop communication and trust, which are the foundations for true harmony.
“And fifth: A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.”
We can start by having the goal to resolve conflict, rather than be ready to fight. Think about others’ perspective, and as the old saying goes, ‘walk a mile in their shoes.’ Be willing to admit you are wrong. There are several sides to every story, and until we have them all, we will remain biased.
As we destroy our own cycles and judgments, “the chance for a just peace for all peoples” is attainable and within grasp, securing a hopeful, bright future for all the men, women, and children of today.