By Steven Geldrich

Ignorance: Racism, homophobia, prejudgment, sexism, stereotyping, bigotry, and prejudice. No matter how you look at it, all of these words come back to the word ignorance. What can be done to prevent and finally stop ignorance? Education is the first step. Today's society is full of ignorance, and many people deal with it first hand every day. In the workplace, in our schools, in shopping centers. Ignorance is everywhere.

Racism and prejudice are two major forms of ignorance in this society. Today's society is more open minded than it was thirty years ago; but now it is reverting back again. Racial groups are desegregating themselves. Some people have the idea that all blacks are bad, all Hispanic people are in a gang, or all whites are rednecks. Schools are very diverse racially, and it is becoming clear that races are starting to break up again. People are still using slang words for insults against each other. One major cause of racism today, is preconceived notion. Children are growing up with their parents ideas being forced into their minds, therefore growing up believing them. They believe these ideas because they are what they have heard during their early years. This poem was written by a young man, who is strongly against racism. It has no title, but his feeling is there.

Look at me
I am a human
My skin color should
Not be limited,
instead it should be
studied and learned
Your skin color may be different
But I will treat you as a human
a person
an individual
a friend.
-- Damion Smith.

Homophobia and bigotry are two more major forms of ignorance in today's society. People have opinions against homosexuals because they have not been well educated. They do not understand the homosexual lifestyle. Many people have the preconceived notion that all homosexuals are perverts, or that they all sexually abuse children. Other people look at homosexuality from the religious point of view. To them, all homosexuals are going to go to Hell. Again, much of this is caused by preconceived notion. Parents and grandparents have grown up listening to these beliefs, so that is what they are telling their children. They know that children will believe what they are told. What can be done about homophobia? Education is the key.

Sexism isn't one of the major forms of ignorance, but many women experience it every day. One example of this can come from the workplace. If a woman is working in a restaurant, and her manager is a sexist man, then she may be completely ignored, no matter what she has to say. A lot of men today are sexist, and there is not much that can be done about it. Some women will file a complaint against the man, which will make him listen to her. The reason that some men won't listen to women, and favor other men for jobs, is because they don't think of women as equals. Instead, they think of women as minorities; simple things that are only on the earth to do what the male says. What can be done about sexism and sexist people? Again, education is the key.

None of these forms of ignorance are going to end overnight. There will always be racists, and there will always be bigots. What can be done about them? Education is the first step. There are many educational programs and groups which discuss these things, and help people. These forms of ignorance and hate must be stopped. Too many people are dying from racial arguments, and bigots that take arguments too far. The key to stopping the violence and arguing between groups, is, and always will be education.

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