By Linda Pollock, a freshman public relations major from Springfield, Ohio. She is the What’s On

DARE to keep a kid off drugs! DARE to keep a kid off dope! These lyrics from my fifth grade graduation of D.A.R.E. taught me the eight ways to avoid drugs and alcohol. Some of the sayings I remember are: walk away, give the cold shoulder, avoid the situation, and change the subject. Unfortunately, these methods of staying drug-free are completely wrong when applied towards our responsibility as human beings to stand up against prejudices and to stop the hate. Instead of turning a blind eye to a situation, we should intervene and go against the grain in hopes of displaying equality and tolerance.

Recently I saw the movie, Tears of the Sun, which explained this theme in a war setting. At the close of the movie, there is a thought-provoking quote by British statesmen Edmund Burke that sums up my point.

“All that is needed for the triumph over evil is for a good man to do nothing.”

We have found this true in the Holocaust, the most well known unwarranted persecution of the modern day. Millions of lives were destroyed because the Nazis felt they couldn’t be defeated in their quest for the “master race.” Luckily, they were wrong and they lost, but not until almost a decade after they had started. Sad as this may have been, it wasn’t the only one. Palestine and Israel, the Holy Crusades, and even the Sept. 11 attacks have stemmed from the same problems of superfluous discrimination resulting in devastation just like in the case of the Jews. It continues today in lots of places including our new ‘war on terrorism.’ What are we doing wrong?

Many people feel that if a world issue doesn’t directly affect them, it is none of their concern, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. It could be we are not capable of empathy for the situation. Think of the starving children in Africa or the child-soldiers in Iraq. Most Americans who are in a position to help out, cannot conceive the horrors those children face everyday. Maybe, we don’t think that individually, anything can be accomplished. The theme, “I am only one person, what can I do?” is a typical excuse.

In the United States, life is so fast-paced that we feel stressed enough with our own problems and don’t want to take on the rest of the world’s dilemmas on our shoulders. This attitude is backwards because if we don’t pay attention to the difficulties around us, then what kind of future are we setting up — Not a bright one! The solution is to stand up for what is right. The right thing is to pick up the gum wrapper on the ground, defend the subject of ridicule, and fail honestly on the test for which you forgot to study. Just imagine in the cafeteria, you trip and spill your milk carton all down your shirt. You’re horrified and the taunting begins. While you pray for an end, table after table joins in the chanting. If only one person would have stood by you, then the day wouldn’t have been worth pages in your journal!

Equality will only come when you constantly treat others the same way, with respect and honesty. These virtues are hard to display everyday but that is what humans should try to attain. To embrace differences and tolerate opinions is the way to a peaceful world. Whether it is a daily occurrence or a devastating war, I dare you to take this challenge and stand up for what’s right.