Surprising to some perhaps, social justice takes a very big part in my heart. While it has no visual connection to my art, I can’t remain silent today. Although my artistic goal solely aims to highlight the beauty of this world, I can’t mute myself from violence, prejudice, and inferiority I encounter. So today I make a public note of my thoughts. You might not agree with me, but my views could prompt some discussions changing the future.
What America as a nation doesn't realize is how steeped it is in gun violence. It's the only highly civilized country in the world that shows consistent outbreaks of violence. It's “free” and democratic society where people can shoot on the streets, in movie theaters, college campuses, schools, and even in a church. I've never seen so much violence in my life as I encounter it here in the U.S., considering the fact that I have neither lived through the horrors of war nor resided in shady neighborhoods. Streams of violence don’t just come from the media’s twist on sad news. It rather stems from the deep-rooted psychic of the gun ownership and the American culture of violent movies, games, and magazines, where the depiction of "cool" men with multiple weapons somehow justifies their actions, raises them on a pedestal of manliness, and often shows them as singular and the most just defenders of American freedom.
The Hollywood movies impress with reality and cruelty happening on screen. Why does “the Game of Thrones” receive such accolades when every few minutes someone is violently killed or mutilated? Of course, there is an argument that it’s the reality of our world and humanity, but I have to say that teens live and learn within the family unit to be accepting of horrific events instead of learning and appreciating the acts of kindness, love, and forgiveness.
While viewers get horrified and sob over the innocent people getting killed in the movies like “the Hunger Games,” we-as a nation have no problem sending our children to war. Just getting out of school, so naive and unknowing they become the “army proud” and “army strong”, serving our country or maybe serving the views of the elite controlling the end game. In the school awards ceremony this May, I became a witness to complete insanity. After all students got their academic awards, only two of them received the loudest standing ovation. Those students stood together on a podium so sincere and young, like two birds knowing nothing about the cruelty of this world, ready to take off their parents’ nest. Those were the students going for a career in the army. Why are we so proud of sending children to fight? No academic achievement caused even a quarter of that stir and applause the two students got.
This country is my home, but its actions make me shiver. Currently America is the only power in the world constantly fighting with other nations, thinking that wars and drone attacks will become successful fighting off terrorism, but the terrorism rises in response to ill or malicious actions of the country that sabotages and interferes with other countries' life. Wars simply help to rearrange the natural resources and powers to control the world. The inconvenient to the American world domination, foreign rulers are labeled as "tyrants" on TV and other news media. In fact, the role of the media is so paramount, it can create hype and hysteria out of acts of terrorism, yet it's very quiet mentioning the victims and refugees, simple people who get caught between the war zones and countries' politics...
I get the idea of bearing the arms for protection, but why did the president meet so much opposition trying to pass the law asking for the background checks? The stats show that almost all shootings happen because some crazy people have no problem buying a gun. Despite their history of mental illness, no one alerts the authorities or puts them on the list of possible shooters. Why do we have a “no fly list” and no “no weapons” list? Is it also the obstruction of freedom?
Finally, I get to racism. Yes, it still exists along with our stereotypes and quick judgement. We all label each other once in a while, me included. But being aware of our actions makes the difference. As the most diverse country on the planet, America has made considerable steps towards equality I’m personally very proud of. This is where I see the crystal clear difference between the U.S. and many other countries I’ve been to, but the last shooting in black church has highlighted the truth: people of color still live under the Confederate flag in South Carolina, flying over the state capitol in Columbia, the very symbol of slavery for many. How is this possible in the country that celebrates diversity and racial blindness? It beats me.