As Americans, we tend to glorify the beautiful parts of equality.
Celebrities like Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner are sensationalized through every media outlet; not a week goes by without a snap of her nail color of the week. Promos for her reality television show are advertised virtually everywhere. Her audience knows every glorified part of her life she wants them to know.
Being an American, we get to experience equality firsthand. For example, women are free to vote and speak in public. It’s crazy to think that in countries not too far from the United States of America, many women are not even allowed to show their own faces in public.
We don’t appreciate the true meaning of equality in America.
While I agree America should adopt equal rights across the board, I don’t agree with how Americans put so much emphasis on themselves, on what feels right to them, what feels good to them. No doubt, our country was founded on selfish ideals. The Constitution says we are to “pursue happiness.” Meaning, as citizens of America, we are to obtain happiness by getting what we want; and getting what we want usually requires someone’s sacrifice.
I’m new to the EPCC campus. I’ve somewhat learned my way around and adopted customs of the campus, but I often find myself on the wrong floor, dumbfounded and lost, requiring the help of a peer to get to where I need to go.
A couple weeks ago, I found myself lost in the A building, trying to find a Mac computer lab. As I was searching around for some sort of familiarity, I spotted a beautiful Gold Retriever guiding an older blind man around campus. The man was relatively close to me, and by his expression, I noticed he was just as lost as I was.
He called out to me, sensing I was close by, and he asked me if he could explain where he could find the Disabilities Service Center. He told me he knew what building it was in, but didn’t know where he was. I told him I was a little lost, too, but I would do my best to lead him in the right direction.
He grabbed onto my left arm, and I led the way.
During this time, I saw many of my peers literally stop what they were doing and stare at the two of us. As if nobody had ever seen someone guide a blind man before. I became really uncomfortable. I don’t usually enjoy attention being drawn to me, and I became embarrassed. And I literally have no idea what for.
Finally, I stumbled upon the Disabilities Services Center and dropped off my new friend.
During our short walk down a few halls, I found out this man was a pastor coming back to school to graduate from an accredited institution. He was a kind man, and he was thankful I took the time to help him where he needed to go.
When I finally found the Mac lab, I was furious. I was so confused why I got so many stares and dirty looks from people. Granted, this is my opinion, and I can’t read their minds to know what they were really thinking, but I felt so judged. Was it really that unnatural to help someone? Disability or no disability.
I started to research more about the blind community, and I was saddened to see how little I found. I searched blind news stories, and I didn’t find much. I began to wonder why the blind community wasn’t a bigger deal to people, and I came to a very sad hypothesis: there’s nothing “beautiful” about being blind.
As a society, we tend to idolize people/things we find appealing and assume standards of normalcy (e.g.- the Kardashians, Instagram-worthy photos); I know I’ve been guilty of this. We are stimulated by sight and physical emotion, and we are driven by selfish desires.
This is not always the case, and there are many instances where people rise up to be selfless, virtuous human beings, but we are all human in nature; and our human nature is selfish.
Meeting that blind man was a special moment. He didn’t care what I wearing or if I had the newest iPhone, or how “on fleek” my eyebrows looked; he just talked to me, without reservation, and without judgment, because we are both human beings. And that’s all that really matters.
As humans, we are all equal as a species. Nobody is higher than anyone else. Nobody is more important than anyone else.
So, what if we stopped focusing so inwardly, and started looking outwardly? What if we did a better job of sacrificing for others? Servicemen do it on a daily basis. We don’t need to enlist in the military to be a sacrificial, kind-hearted, virtuous human being, though. We can be those things anywhere.