Monday, 16 September 2013

Miss America: Solving the Issue of Ignorance


Hate, ridicule, antagonism, spite, malevolence, resentment.

All these words are relatively nasty little combinations of letters that have been used quite recently to describe the negative reaction of some Americans to the appointment of the new Miss America. It brings to mind the late Christopher Hitchens asking “What is it you most dislike?” and proceeding to answer his own question with “Stupidity, especially in its nastiest forms of racism and superstition”.  
The new Miss America - born and raised American and aspiring to be a doctor.
Hitchens should have followed up.

Yes, stupidity can be quite frustrating.  Comments of terrorism, association to radical Islam, and the geographic faux pas placing India as an Arabic country were all made because the new Miss America has a higher concentration of melanin than some would prefer. Yes, stupidity can accurately describe some of the comments made over social mediums. The quote from Hitchens implies we should hate this kind of stupidity. Dislike it. Fight fire with fire and initiate public shaming to those who make these statements.

However, hate usually doesn’t work.

Public shaming of individuals does little. It brings unwarranted publicity creating unnecessary controversy and anger. Hate does little to address the actual problem that is being displayed from these comments. These ignorant comments are the result, not the cause. To counter this problem, the cause must be addressed.

Aristotle stated that “all human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion and desire”. If Aristotle is correct, the cause of these actions lie within one of these seven words. It is arguable that it is nature. Many of the comments most likely came from individuals who have not been exposed to new surroundings, a different environment, and thus different persons.  Understanding begins with experiencing, and ignorance is the offspring of unfamiliarity.

So instead of initiating a hateful response of ridicule to those who stated such ridiculous comments, a proper response would be to broaden the minds of those of those who cannot understand how one who has a darker pigment can be American. Education of the matter is not enough. Perspicacity can only be accomplished through collaboration and interaction, not through chortling at others mistaken assertions.

The new Miss America has already stated that she will answer the hostility by rising above it. Rather, she may be more successful in engaging those who are ignorant. Challenge those who have not met those who have a different skin colour. Focus on the commonalities that make not just all those born in America, American - but all those born as a human a part of mankind.

As a famous writer once said, “our true nationality is mankind”. 


Anonymous said...

This is such bullshit:
First of all, this bitch was recorded calling her fellow contestants "fat as fuck"
Secondly, wasn't Vanessa Williams a black woman?

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