When intolerance is another form of hatred

As an Asian male, I grew up with my share of racist encounters, some very ugly and downright scary.  Yet I refuse to blame an entire segment of the population for the misdeeds of a few.  I refuse to allow circumstances to shape me as a person or my attitudes, and instead, I try to live my life as virtuous as possible—taking care of patients as best I can, being just and fair to others, providing for and loving my family as best I can, no matter what unexpected and negative stuff God throws at me.

Do I always succeed?  No.  But we were created as flawed, error-prone individuals, and I try to learn from my mistakes to become a better person.  It is the struggle to improve in the face of negative conditions that molds and shapes one’s character for the better.   By exemplifying good actions and good deeds, I strive to convey the message that anything worthy is achievable, anything is possible.  Coming from parents who were not highly educated, I still became a doctor only after years of hard work and purposeful drive, not from privilege.  Living in America makes this possible.  We need to have an abundance mindset to see opportunity in the face of difficulty.  And I believe the manner in which we live is the best means to change a world view.

I was taught not to stereotype people.  However, I fear the talk of white privilege breeds intolerance against whites, exercising a stereotype in the reverse direction.  Intolerance is another form of hatred.  Yes, the system must change, but this is only part of the equation.  Waiting for others to change, seeing this only from the lens of “us against them” makes victims of us all.  And when we see ourselves as victims, we unwittingly place our fate in the hands of another.  We can control our own fate while helping to create a fair and just system by taking individual responsibility on the way we act and kindly treat one another.  But it must go both ways; it must be mutual.

“Always do the right thing.  This will gratify some people and astonish the others.”
– Mark Twain

Randall S. Fong is an otolaryngologist and can be reached at his self-titled site, Randall S. Fong, as well as his blog.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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