2017-08-11 / Education

Accepting others’ differences

By Hanah Watts, local high school student

Hanah Watts Hanah Watts Summer is quickly coming to an end, which means the first day of school is drawing ever nearer. Many students want to look and act “cool” the first day back, so they can impress their peers. They want to be tanner and skinnier and prettier. They want to be in the “cool kid” group. No matter how much everyone denies it, numerous teens are just afraid of what others will think, and, more importantly, say about them.

Today’s media portrays high schools as a battle ground for bullies and their victims. Not everyone engages in bullying; however, there are those few groups who give all teenagers a rotten name. They seem to enjoy doing and saying things to cause others to feel horrible about themselves.

Certainly, there are countless students who have thick skin and do not pay considerable attention to it, but, unfortunately, there are also those who take everything people say about them to heart.

We should be accepting of others’ differences, not repulsed by them. Yet, some people still cannot grasp this concept. It sounds awfully cliché, but if every person was the same, the world would be a boring place.

In our society we need differences as much as we need clean water. That girl who was called “ugly” in school might become a powerful politician. That “dumb jock” might become a neurosurgeon. The guy you called a “weird theater geek” in ninth grade could be the writer of the next academy award winning musical. That “awkward kid” could be the next movie star. Even though a label is attached to someone now does not indicate it will stay with them forever.

Furthermore, the reality is people are too afraid to speak up about bullying. And, when teens do speak up, often the problem is never addressed properly, which only results in the continued bullying.

In a perfect world, differences would be celebrated, not scorned. Additionally, while it can bring awareness to the problem, we cannot stop bullying by posting a rant on Instagram and ending it with #stopbully and #bullyinghurts.

Life does not work that way. We just need to realize we are unbelievably incredible, no matter what anyone says. We need to learn to brush off the insults hurled at us. If the bullies run out of people who believe what they say, they might just stop being mean.

“It doesn’t prove anything except that you’re bullying us. Which, as I recall, is a sign of cowardice.” —Veronica Roth, Divergent

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