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The Eagle's Eye

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Side #2: Emotions Control Thought

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As I began writing this piece describing movies and such to counteract the music from Side #1, real life still happened around me and I decided to switch to something a little more sensitive. I was hanging out with my friend who happens to be African-American and someone absurdly used the N-Word in his direction. Sure, I can write a book about how the six letter word makes him feel, but, for some reason, in that moment, I thought about the kid who said it. I knew of him, notorious for racism and supporting white supremacy. While many of our interests aligned such as sports, I never associated myself with him because of this. 

Everyone has brushed with racism and has either made or laughed at at least borderline racist jokes. But why was this kid willing to express it in the harshest manner? Why do some people struggle accepting people of other religions, races, and creeds?  As much as they would like to claim they don’t “think” they should accept them for whatever humdrum excuse they come up with, it, in fact, has little to do with that individual thoughts. There is no logical defense for racism, so no one could possibly think racism would be a good thing. Yet, it still exists.

The reason is emotions. Looks at the peaks of racism and they tie into times of high emotion. Black racism in Charlottesville after months of bashing on their elected president. The harsh treatment of Japanese-Americans post-Pearl Harbor. And the entire Islamic community since 9/11/01. When emotions are high and you search for comfort, one of the ways is to put down others.

And it doesn’t just stop there. One of my friends took it beyond racism. During the legalization process of same sex marriage, we discussed our views in a friendly manner. To my surprise, he was against it. Him and I saw side to side on most topics, and he was very inclusive with a Hispanic best friend, black girlfriend, and he even pledged to take care of his brother with down syndrome. Yet, he didn’t support LGBT. I pushed him to answer why and he answered.

“My dad hates up. I mean, I know it’s not right, but I grew up with my dad and he would call them queers and fags and it embedded into me. I try my best to be fine, but I get angry when I see them and IDK why.” This stunned me. He hated, and knew it was wrong, but couldn’t do anything about it. If this doesn’t show how emotions control thought, I don’t know what will. And while he has yet to become inclusive to LGBT members, I do know that opening to a group- color, religion, or interests- also includes this emotional tie. In French we are watching “Bienvenue a Marley-Gomont” (Welcome to Marley-Gomont). In it, a black doctor moves to a rural white neighborhood where his family is compared to feces and his office is avoided despite a growing sickness pandemic. It wasn’t until he went to the bar, made of fool of himself day after day until they allowed him his chance. They were more than happy to include him into their circle and his office began booming. Had it not been for this new emotional tie to the doctor, the thoughts around him would have stayed in the toilet, pun-intended. 

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Keeping watch over student news at East Leyden High School
Side #2: Emotions Control Thought