Terrible Discrimination | Teen Ink

Terrible Discrimination

April 25, 2008
By Anonymous

Throughout the world’s history, numerous incidents have occurred where one person or group of persons discriminates against another due to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other such defining factors that differentiate human beings. These acts of discrimination, known as prejudice, can sometimes lead to violence. One major example of such hate crimes is the Holocaust. During the Holocaust, various groups were targeted, simply because they were not of the same faith as the Nazis, did not appear Aryan, or they resisted the Nazi reign. These groups, which include the Jews, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Gypsies, the Homosexuals, and the Disabled, had to face many atrocities during the Holocaust. They suffered through twelve years of hard labor and deaths, which, in 1945, were finally stopped after millions of people had already lost their lives. Now, the world is jaded to genocide, for we have had a couple terrible cases occur in the sixty-three years since the Holocaust ended. Even so, the terror that brushes through us all at the thought of such a thing happening again proves that the remembrance of one of the world’s most horrifying events is of great importance, and that steps we take now to save our generation and the generations after us can lead us towards greater peace in the world.
The Holocaust has had a major impact on the world today. Millions of people, who, aside from the fact that they were not of the “superior race” or Aryan, were innocent of any wrongdoing except in the eyes of the Nazi regime. Thus, these millions of people were condemned to die, whether through gas chambers, crematories, starvation, or hard labor. Now, this generation must stand together, united as one, determined to learn and determined to remember. Therefore, the history and lessons of the Holocaust should be treasured, because they can help us further understand why it did occur. Without the knowledge of the rest of the world, Adolf Hitler began a series of steps to lead to what was know as the “Final Solution”, or, in other words, the total extermination of the Jews, as well as other minority groups. At first, laws and restrictions were put upon the Jews, but, as time passed, more laws and restrictions were passed, people were put into ghettos or deported, and, finally, sent to death in several concentration camps spread around all of Europe. Understanding this timeline can help highlight the lessons the world must learn in order to coexist as peacefully as possible. By understanding this timeline and the lessons that must be learned immediately after, the Holocaust will never be forgotten, and, because of this, will also preserve the thoughts and ideas of the souls who can no longer speak for themselves. For, it is through their attempts to stay alive, to ensure that the world learns of what has happened to them, that we have been able to take the necessary steps we have already taken to assure that the new generation will be aware of the horrors in the world’s past, and that they will work to spread awareness to this terrible, violent event, as we are doing right now. Remembrance is the key.
Discrimination, prejudice, and violence are three major steps that lead to hate crimes in the masses. When these steps are broken down, and spread throughout various years, as was the Holocaust, it can lead to widespread terror and panic. Yet, since that time, cases of genocide have occurred in such places as South Africa, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Why, many people ask, have the steps that we swore we would never take again been repeated in these hate crimes run amuck? Well, possibly this is because the power of persuasion was used, the same power that helped Hitler gain popularity and, ultimately, led to the Holocaust. The power of persuasion thrives upon the majority, who must either seek such power that those who wish to destroy another group of persons has; or fear what might happen to them if they were to oppose, if it is to work properly. Others will oppose, obviously, because it is in human nature to disagree, but, as long as the majority takes the leading roles as bystanders or supporters, those voices will become stifled. As students who will soon become the leaders of the world, we must realize that these situations, these acts of genocide, are very real, and that they need to be looked upon as learning experiences. If we take these two first steps, this can help further our resolve to end hate crimes once and for all. Once we have acted upon these guidelines, we must further analyze how the power that the leaders of the genocides was given to them, how they used it to lead to hardly, or no opposition, and how they gained the weaponry to see their ideals through. By understanding the mind-set of the leaders of the genocide, and how they gained enough power to control the masses in such a way, we can learn how we can combat people who may rise in the near future, determined to “ethnically cleanse” their countries or territories. Even such small measures as respecting those who are trying to help defeat bigotry, being aware of groups who may be a threat to the world, and learning of the safety measures set forth to help ensure our well being can help battle prejudice.
The Holocaust has set a horrible stain upon the history of the world, as has the several other cases of genocide that are seen throughout history. However, we need to stop prejudice and bigotry, which will lead to the end of hate crimes. In order to do this, we need to remember the lessons that the Holocaust and those involved, left us behind to learn, as well as how we can prevent it from occurring in the future. Though steps are being taken by those who have experienced the pains of genocide, we must take greater strides in preventing it from occurring. By doing so, we can make the world a better, safer place, where we are free to believe whatever we please. So, let us continue our efforts to remember the Holocaust’s history and lessons, and prevent such heinous acts from happening again. Let us do it for those who did not survive the genocide and for those who were left to carry on, so that they can prove that they were strong. For those families that have questions left unanswered, so that they can finally have closure. For those who were involved, so that they can pay penance. For those who stood by and let it happen, so that they can see what would not have occurred if they had opposed. For those in later generations to look back upon and learn, so that they can prevent it from repeating. Let us do it for the betterment of the world.

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