Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

A A Vision of Youth by Breonna Loxley
Reaching Deeper



REACHING DEEPER




Our country is facing great challenges. How many of them would disappear with the eradication of prejudice? It’s heartbreaking to realize that hatred is still rampant in our society; countless people discriminate against those who have a different skin color, religion, sexuality, or gender than their own. Why? Why should anyone place judgment upon another human being? Is it not enough to be responsible for our own selves?


If I closed my mind and heart
to people who have different lifestyles
and beliefs than my own,
then I would be limiting myself when it comes to
friendship, personal growth, and opportunity.



Sadly, I witness one type of prejudice on a daily basis at the humane society where I work. In recent years, American Staffordshire Terriers, AKA “pit bulls,” have fallen victim to the discrimination of breed prejudice. Like any other canine, their individual personalities are unique; not limited to the stereotype they’ve been assigned. Despite this, a lot of people are very close-minded when it comes to the breed. Adopters visiting the facility will often tell me, “I’m not interested in anything resembling a pit bull.” This prejudice is so detrimental—it leads to breed specific legislation, restrictions for apartment residents, and an overcrowding of pit bulls and other power breeds in animal shelters. This all leads to the deaths of thousands of dogs—exuberant, loving, wonderful dogs who were never given a chance.

Breed prejudice is just one example of how closed-mindedness is harming our society. Tragic news stories frequent our TV screens night after night. They cover violent crimes committed in the name of hate. We’ve come so far as a species, yet we have so much of which to be ashamed. How can anyone deem another, whether dog or human, dangerous with a single glance? How can one harbor hatred for someone merely because of how they look? How can a person of faith show hatred to people of different faiths? Why are we still forming opinions without knowledge of character? We all deserve to have our own beliefs, but this is a double-sided coin. If we can have our opinions, everyone else can have theirs. I have had so many dear friends over the years—friends who are African American, or gay, or strongly political, or atheists. Some of the people I respect most in this world fall into one or more of these groups. If I closed my mind and heart to people who have different lifestyles and beliefs than my own, then I would be limiting myself when it comes to friendship, personal growth, and opportunity. I believe that we can reach deeper, that new and old generations alike can learn—are learning—open-mindedness towards all people. Our country is facing great challenges. So many of them—maybe even all of them—will be solved the day we embrace understanding, compassion, and love.




Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.