Hello, steemians, It's been quite some time since I've posted! I have been meaning to write a post for some time now, and recently thought of making this series of posts. I internally debated if this was a good or bad idea for a few days, before concluding that this is important, regardless of how others perceive it.
In today's society, we have come so far towards social equality as compared to 200 years, 100 years, 50 years ago, even 20 years ago! Yet some people believe our world is more divided than ever. This could not be further from the truth, so let's explore some reasons as to why people think this.
Access to information
30 years ago, the internet may have existed, but it was by no means common. In the past, we relied on television, or even the newspaper for news! Now, you can tweet out a current event in under a minute, while in the past it would take hours, if not days. With more access, this means smaller events can be shared. Only major events would be on television shortly after occuring, and most would take longer, if even shared at all. An individual's experience would typically be known only by those who were present while it occured, and friends and family who heard about it through a witness. Now, someone can post a recording of it on their snap story and get 50+ views in minutes. This access to information may show all aspects of life, but typically it's the extremes not the average that get the most retweets, most views, most shares. Are you more likely to retweet "I left my bagel in the toaster too long and now it's burnt press F to pay respects" from a mutual on twitter, or a story about a hate crime? Which one is going to catch more interest. In reality, mundane events like the first are more common, but we hear about and remember less of them.
Opposite extremes voicing their beliefs
With social media, everyone with internet access can share their thoughts for anyone to see. While traditional news sources are generally biased, leaning to one side or the other, they are still closer to the middle than the most extreme views. Now, white supremacists can share their point of view, and so can POC who've been fighting for equality since 1970. People who support communism and true capitalists, LGBT+ people and homophobes/transphobes, religious people and atheists. Anyone can share opposing views easily. And while this makes it seem more divided, in reality, 200 years ago some people wanted equality for all, just as they do today, but others didn't think minorities should be counted as people. Now, the people who oppose equality generally do so in a more subtle way.
I am pretty young, but I already have misleading memories. When I was very young, I never knew what cancer was. When I was 10 or so, I thought that cancer as a new disease. Of course, cancer has existed for more than a decade, but when I was little I didn't remember it as being a thing. Part of this may be that I was shielded from harsh truths of reality, but part of it is that I didn't know much about it so I didn't pay attention to it, so I don't remember it. Many people think that transgender "wasn't a thing" until the past few years, yet there is proof that numerous groups of Native Americans acknowledged more than two genders before Europeans took over the Americas.
Lack of first hand experience
What we are taught in schools will only ever be the tip of the iceberg of what happened historically. In the United States, I remember learning about the amendments and abolitionists. I remember learning about lynchings. I never learned the names of victims. I remember learning about women fighting for the right to vote. I never learned how it felt to exist during the civil war, or how hopeless POC felt on their deathbeds, knowing that they would never see the day they would be recognized as a human. I never learned how hard it was to be taken seriously as a woman in the 19th century, because unless you experience things first hand, you'll truly know the extent of it. School cannot make us feel how it felt to be in a time we cannot even fully comprehend. This leads us to know some of the details as facts, but never learn the full extent of the facts, and never even come close to seeing things from the perspective of people who lived in another time period.
All in all, these factors contribute to feeling more divided than ever before, when the opposite is true. This post is part of a series, which will begin with giving background, and progress into ways practice tolerance. If you are interested in this, I do not have an estimate for how long until the next post, but if you follow me you will see when it is written. Thank you all for reading!