The Cookie in the Rough

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Flickr / Rick Hebenstreit / Roadside Chocolate Chip / April 23, 2014

“I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here,” he said. “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”

-Graham Moore (2015 Oscar speech)

Over the course of history, world-changing ideas have usually been controversial. The people behind these ideas were sometimes seen as lunatics and were usually looked down upon in a normal social setting. They were harassed, isolated, and oppressed for their individuality.  Nowadays, this is known as bullying. The main idea of bullying is to either mentally or physically harm an individual. I know that bullying is usually thought of as a grade school issue, however, it never stops–we  just found ways for bullying to look more subtle and be more justified.

The targets for bullying are usually isolated people; the ones that don’t fit in; the ones that say weird things that no one understands. Often times, these victims will try to shed their individually so that they may eventually fit in with a social group. In more extreme cases, victims will attempt to end their life in order to escape the constant harrassment. However, there are sometimes wonderful qualities about these victims. If we have learned anything from history, these victims were often the “weird ones”, the ones that were different, the ones that most people thought were crazy, that make history.

Over the weekend, I wrote encouraging messages on sticky notes and stuck them in random spots like cars, trees, even random chairs and tables. The messages said,  “Be Brave”, “Believe in yourself”, “Believe in your dreams”, “Don’t give up”, and “You are special the way you are.” At the end of every message, I wrote, “Pass it on.” These messages were for anyone who has ever felt different, who has ever felt like they don’t fit in, and for the ones that never got chosen as a “goose” in “Duck Duck Goose”. I don’t know who most of you are. I don’t even know what the problem is. I just hope that my messages will be passed on to you either from a stranger or a friend. Just know this:

“When 99% of people doubt your idea, you’re either gravely wrong or about to make history.”

-Scott Belsky (founder and CEO of Behance)

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If a cookie is filled with raisins, is that cookie just a raisin?

War on labels.

Alright, this analogy might be a bit of a stretch, but hear me out, ok? If a person believes in Christian teachings, we label them as a Christian. We say, “He or she is a Christian.”  If a person supports the Republican party, we say, “She or he is a Republican.” If a person is born with a vagina, we label them a woman. Again we say, “She’s a woman.” Don’t get me wrong, labeling is a great way to identify the objectives. It’s when we associate everything that these labels stand for to a specific person that the fact may become construed. It’s like we deny that a person could be more than just a label. We deny them the right to be more complex. We deny them the ability to believe more than one thing.

For example, Serrin M. Foster, the president of Feminists for Life is a feminist, yet she believes in pro-life. What does that make her? On another note, I am a Catholic, and I believe in pro-choice. What does that make me?

If you know me, you would know that I always do the sign of the cross before I consume anything. It’s simply a sign of me being thankful for the food. However, my colleagues see this as me being a hard headed Christian that can not be reasoned with. Therefore, whenever they talk about controversial topics, I always hear, “Sorry Minh. I know you are a Catholic, but…” When I have never even expressed my view on those specific topics before. It’s like they just assume they know my social and political standpoint because they know I am a Catholic. It made me so uncomfortable to the point that I felt like I should stop doing the sign of the cross before I eat.

  the managing editor in the AAUW Art, Editorial, and Media Department said, “A “stereotype” is a cognitive shortcut — that is, it allows your brain to make a snap judgment based on immediately visible characteristics such as gender, race, or age.” Therefore, I suggest that we should limit ourselves on assuming things base on stereotypes. Also just for fun, try taking a quiz at implicit.harvard.edu. Maybe you’ll find out some biases about yourself you didn’t even know you had. 

Just like I said earlier, if a cookie is filled with raisins, we don’t necessarily say “ That is a raisin.” A cookie is so much more than that. A cookie is flour, baking soda, sugar, butter, eggs, and maybe raisins. However, raisins themselves do not make the cookie a cookie, but it’s everything else that does.

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 Sharon Drummond/Cookies/January 17, 2014

http://www.aauw.org/2014/08/13/why-stereotypes-are-bad/

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

http://www.feministsforlife.org/2013/07/smf/

Great cakes taste alike

Upon graduation of the world religions class at OCU, I had learned many things about Islam and their beliefs and how similar Islam is to Christianity. To my surprise, when I tried to communicate these similarities to others, I was put down in an incredibly angry way. Maybe it’s due to my origin, Vietnam, that I lack the sensitivity for the American culture and way of thinking. Because of that, I had always been a spectator, or to some a “troll”. A troll’s official definition is “One who posts a deliberately provocative message with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”. I had no such intention, but my ideas angered many in a way that I had not intended.

However, upon reading Amr Salah’s posting on Ted, I finally felt like I wasn’t alone. In his posting, he claimed that archaeological evidences showed that Christianity is not that different from Judaism and Islam. Many of the replies agreed with his view on Judaism’s similarity to Christianity but rejected Islam’s. To my amusement, most of these rejections had no concrete evidence. Some just commented, “Jews & Christians have the same God, but the Muslim God is another thing entirely.” How different? He couldn’t say.

mkwjustdance, however, finally presented us with the ultimate similarity that no one can deny.” Blaming Islam for terrorism is like blaming Christianity for colonialism.” This shows that Christianity is more similar to Islam then we think. If Archaeological evidences can’t prove that, then let our actions be the proof. The comments in this blog are not only understanding but are also very supportive and, thus, gave the speaker the confidence to speak more proudly and more often.

Therefore, in order to provoke interesting conversations, everyone speaking must have a level of respect and a level of curiosity to at least try to understand the others’ opinions. No, arguments are not discouraged, but always be respectful.

http://www.ted.com/conversations/13303/aren_t_christianity_judaism_a.html

https://nutellarina.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/end-islamophobia/