Welcome to Be Aware!
We're just a few teenagers from Alabama trying to make a difference in the world. Join our fight for equality and be aware! - Emily, Rebekah, Shannon, and Christina
Our AP English teacher gave us the assignment of a lifetime: take a real world problem and create a solution. We set out to change the world and combat discrimination. We started by looking at the major probems in our own community. Who do we see getting attacked for who they are and what they believe? Who is doing the attacking and why? And of course, what can we do to stop it? Be Aware is not just a project to us; it's the real deal.
Overall project thesis: What actions have caused Bible-Belt Christians to be seen as hateful and closed-minded against different groups such as Atheists, African Americans, and homosexuals?
Each member of our group was assigned a different sub-topic within the theme of prejudice/racism/bigotry, and each member was required to answer guided questions in regard to their topic. Our guided questions were:
1. What groups don't fit into the definition of "normal"?
- A social group is people interacting with each other with respect to: common motives and goals, an accepted division of labor (roles), established states relationships (social rank, dominance), accepted norms and values with reference to matter relevant to the group, development of accepted sanctions (praise and punishment) if and when norms were respected or violated
- A social category is a collection of people who do not interact but who share similar characteristics (women, men, the elderly, students)
- Some groups of people to not fit in with the Southern definition of acceptable and normal: homosexuals, African Americans, and atheists (based on the grounds of religion and southern tradition [slavery]).
2. What is sensitivity training?
- Sensitivity training is a form of training that claims to make people more aware of their own prejudices and more sensitive to others.
- Sensitivity training is often offered by organizations and agencies as a way for members of a given community to learn how to better understand and appreciate the differences in other people. It asks training participants to put themselves into another person's place in hopes that they will be able to better relate to others who are different than they are. Sensitivity training often specifically addresses concerns such as gender sensitivity, multicultural sensitivity, and sensitivity toward those who are disabled in some way. The goal in this type of training is more oriented toward growth on an individual level. Sensitivity training can also be used to study and enhance group relations, i.e., how groups are formed and how members interact within those groups.
- Political correctness has been defined as "avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against" or the "alteration of language to redress real or alleged injustices and discrimination or to avoid offense."
3. How do we go about sensitivity training?
- Sensitivity training is typically done in small group discussions with a counselor present. Sometimes there it is accompanied by reading material.
- We believe we could create a website with discussion forums with which to give our community a sounding board and help make them aware of their prejudices.
- Galatians 3:28
- James 2:9
- Exodus 21:20-21
- Leviticus 25:39
- Exodus 23:12
- Genesis 9:25-27
- Jeremiah 13:23
- 1 Peter 2:18
- Exodus 21:16
- The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
- Leviticus 18:22, 20:13
- Romans 1:26-27
- Ephesians 6:5 NLT
- Exodus 21: 20-21
- Genesis 1: 26-27
- Deuteronomy 10:17
- Acts 10:34
- Romans 2:11
- Ephesians 6:9
5. What are the predominant racisms towards African Americans?
- How they speak (ebonics), how they look (color of skin), stereotypes (food stamps, more kids, wife beaters, drunks, no jobs, unintelligent), dress (thugs and thieves because of “sagging”), things people always say (they like bright colors, they drink grape soda, they only listen to rap music, they drive raunchy cars).
6. Why are older generations teaching children to be hateful against different groups?
- Older generations are usually set in their ways: tradition, religious beliefs, and how they were raised.
As a solution to our project, we were required to develop real world ways to solve a problem within our project theme. Be Aware is a website that provides individuals with a place to be heard. Here, members can participate in discussions, leave comments, and take part in the effort to end prejudice against race, religion, and sexual orientation. The purpose of this site is to address and take a stance against discrimination and racism throughout the community, where educational discussion and personal guidance regarding intolerance can exist.
Although most of the stereotypes of African Americans in today's society are generalizations (and usually untrue), many people still believe that they are accurate. Words hurt and judgements are mean. Why, then, are people racist against African Americans and why do they believe these stereotypes?
Gay slurs are used very comfortably in today's society, despite their hurtful and disrespectful meanings. People hear news that they don't like and say, "That's so gay!" Why is the word "gay" used as an insult, as synonym for bad?
There are many misconceptions about Atheists. Just because a person does not believe in God does not make them a bad person. Before religious people dismiss the idea of atheism as unjust, they should become more aware about the ideas behind it. After all, everyone has a right to their own beliefs and opinions, right?