I recently read the classic book, The Great Gatsby. Although I did not have time to write a proper book review, this quote really stood out to me and I wanted to share my thoughts.
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald makes a profound statement. He says that the differences in intelligence and race are no greater than those of the sick and healthy. It reminded me of the corruption of our world's views on these topics, praising those who enjoy a high IQ and putting down those who belong to certain ancestry instead of praising people for who God has made them to be.
The more I analyze this quote, the more I come to understand that this was a exceedingly profound statement for the time the thought originated from: 1925. At this time, African Americans were free and the Universal Negro Improvement Association was rapidly growing, however, along with the growing UNIA, there was also growth in the Ku Klux Klan, a group dedicated to African American destruction. Additionally, mental illness had been discovered, but treatments often hurt the patient more than helped them. Internationally, nations were continuing to repair the relationships broken by the first World War. Ultimately, this statement contradicted many of the beliefs and norms of Americans of the time.
To completely understand this quote and the author's intentions of it, we must also look to the differences between the sick and the well. Well people are healthy. They live life like any other healthy person, filling up each moment with a mixture of memories, happy, sad, angry, trying to ignore the possible coincidences that plague every one of them. The possibilities in their lives are endless, including being lost to the world of the sick. Any of them could become sick without warning. The ironic common factor of the sick, the retarded, and anyone of any race, is coincidence. Nobody has much choice in the matter; to be healthy or sick, smart or dumb, black or white. Choices come afterwards. The choice comes when we go to the pantry for something to eat, when we come home from school or work and need something to do, when we take the medicine prescribed, or study for our next test. We choose to look at either the color of a person's skin, or the warmness of their heart. Choices make us who we are, not our predestined characteristics, that simply play a role in our lives. Although these attributes may control us, they do not define us.
A common misunderstanding of today's societies is that it is exempt from the notion this quote contradicts. Although this has taken different forms, it has been far from erased from our culture. Middle-Eastern people are feared or looked down upon in America because of their amiss association with the terrorist groups in their ethnic homeland. Children are teased by other classmates and, at some schools, punished by teachers for learning disabilities or not being able to learn materials as well because of a lack of accessible resources. We also put very particularly high expectations, such as high grades, quick thinking, and technology-based schooling, all of which very good in moderation, but the argument could easily be made that they are not.
So how do we change this? Work is being made towards reversing this thought process. #BlackLivesMatter is a awareness campaign dedicated to eliminating African discrimination. Great Britain has recently launched Heads Together, a program dedicated to raising awareness for and breaking down the unpleasant labels of mental health and giving people access to help. Malala Yousafzai has begun The Malala Fund. This program is dedicated to providing every girl an education worldwide. Change is happening. But it will not suffice to sit back and watch things change, because it will not.
Albert Einstein put it this way, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” This is true. No matter how popular a problem or awareness program, or a possible solution becomes, nothing will change, for better or worse, without the active participation of people. People who do not look at what God has given people, but how those people use the what God has given them.
Quote Background: http://wallpapersafari.com/w/Z8kTpe
Quote: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Info on Racial Tensions: http://classroom.synonym.com/racial-tension-roaring-twenties-16505.html
Info on Mental Illness: https://prezi.com/deviw3oyruh9/mental-illness-in-the-1920s-1930s/
Einstein Quote: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/change
Sorry for any ggrammatical errors!