Columnist questions the act of kindness in society

By: Brianna Arity Columnist

We walk out of one building traveling to another on foot. A person appears in our view; someone who doesn’t fit our standards. At this point, we truly only look at their dress or looks while staring down at our blank phone or in the opposite direction, hoping to avoid any contact. We pass the stranger quietly thanking there was no dialogue exchanged. We all do it; turn away from someone who doesn’t look what we think of as “right.” As the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”; we spend so much time trying to control who we are and what we want, yet not enough about other people. Who are we to judge? I am as guilty of this realization as much as everyone else. Judging is just apart of human nature. This just doesn’t make sense to me. We get so used to falling back into the “norm” in our society. 

     Do we  even know what the “norm” is or how it ever got to that level? I don’t think anyone has these answers and if you were to ask anyone these questions, they would probably answer with a simple shoulder shrug, not caring. It is something in our society that has been twisted into our


  Just think if we answered that polite act of door holding with a sincere smile and a polite response. Just think of how many wonderful people we are missing the opportunity to meet because of their looks or social status. Now back up to walking out of that building on to another tiresome class. You pass a student with torn jeans and a shirt rubbed down with dirt. Will you look up and smile? Maybe you will someday meet this student in another classroom or in line waiting for your overpriced cafeteria food. Think about it this way, you spend all your time with half-wit friends who, on the outside, fit the standards of our society. What does it do for you? You ignore certain groups for years, judging more than their words and actions. Meanwhile, that girl who hasn’t showered in four days holds a smile that hasn’t left her face in weeks. That man, who people avoid, has straight A’s with a couple close friends maintaining the happy status that you just don’t experience.

  In actuality, we are all cut from the same cloth. Sometimes we have to take a step back and notice what is more important; what matters most. Is it what people see that matters most or the fact of being sincere to an unknown stranger? We are selfish. We all are guilty of this. It’s hard to come out of a system that humanity delves as “normal.” It’s hard to live up to someone else’s standards when you aren’t fully confident on what those standards are put in place for. As you go on, I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to avoid society’s view on people and make your own. “Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.” –Mother Teresa

Brianna Arity is majoring early childhood education. She can be reached at [email protected]