While we remember the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we recall the sadness and despair felt nationwide when the lives of nearly 3,000 people were lost. The murder of the many innocent bystanders shocked the world, and resulted in distrust among certain races and religions. Is it human nature to want to place blame in the wake of such tragic circumstances? Maybe so, but it is very important to be sure that the blame goes to the rightful place.
The attacks of 9/11 were the doings of extremist terrorist groups, in particular, Al-Quada. Sadly, many people who do not stay abreast of current events and political issues associate the attacks with all Middle Easterners and/or all Muslims.
Al-Quada is NOT representative of all Middle Easterners or all Muslims, and thinking so is an appalling mistake that some people have been making over the last ten years. This act of stereotyping someone based on their religion or appearance can be associated with branding. Some think that branding is about how you present yourself, but branding is really about how other people see you. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, instances of intolerance, discrimination, and acts of violence occur based solely on discrimination against ethnicity and appearance.
In the book, “The Authenticity Hoax” by Andrew Potter, he explains the difference between actual truths and perceived truths. Since the media is such a powerful force in our society, they may inadvertently allude to something that changes the truth in your mind from the actual truth to a perceived truth. Another problem is that we live in communities with members who share the same beliefs and motives.If your community tends to think ill of a certain group, religion, race, etc. you are prone to such beliefs as well. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid being persuaded by the media and your community is to disconnect yourself from society, according to Potter. As PR and IMC students,we agree with Mr. Potter, but we have also learned that there are ways to filter information to stay as close to the “actual truth” as possible.
We must always look at both sides of the story, and question everything. For each possible scenario, ask yourself every question that it could be associated with. All Americans are not members of hate groups like the KKK. All Christians are not gay hating anti-progressive activists, and all Muslims are not terrorists.
– Stephanie, Claire, & David