There is no single story or event that defines a person’s life. Instead, we have countless stories that define who we are. Unfortunately, today we live in a society where people easily point fingers, or are quick to stereotype. The problem is that these stereotypes prevent people from knowing the whole story. I thoroughly appreciated Chimamanda Adichie’s Ted Talk, especially with some of the recent political events. Adichie says that we are always quick to blame a corrupt or tyrannical group for any problem that may occur. As a Muslim, this really hit home with me, as there is a lot of animosity towards Muslims not just throughout the United States but the entire world. Although there do exist extremist Muslims groups that have carried out horrendous acts worldwide, this does not mean that all Muslims believe the same way. Adichie says that stereotypes and people’s perspectives on others are not always complete. Most people do not want to hear what other Muslims have to say about these violent acts, they just assume that all Muslims are the same. There exist people who are merely unable to fathom that not all Muslims practice their religion like this. They fail to view the other perspective on things. Adichie also points out that we are impressionable and vulnerable as children. I fear for the future generations of Muslims, as today kids are being taught from such an early age that Muslims are bad people, not fit for any society, and become emotionally disturbed when a Muslim child comes near their child. I can say this with assurance as I have witnessed this happened.
Adichie’s idea of stereotypes and not looking at both perspectives resonates in some of the points that Harriet Washington discusses in the introduction of Medical Apartheid. She says that people think that African Americans are dying of rare genetic diseases but in reality, they are dying of disease just like the rest of the population. The only issue is that these African American patients receive less aggressive treatment, have limited access to healthcare, and are not involved in cutting-edge medical research. I personally think that it is important and necessary for us as fellow human beings to peacefully coexist and the only way we can achieve this is by truly trying to understand each other and any problems or obstacles that we might be facing. We need to fundamentally change the way that we think, behave, and act.