Don't judge people based on looks, faith

  • Published
  • By Steven Goldman
  • 12th Flying Training Wing Equal Opportunity director
According to various news sources, there have been hundreds of anti-Islamic incidents, including violence and threats, directed toward the Islamic-American community since Sept. 11, 2001.

In light of the recent shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, the Equal Opportunity office is concerned with the welfare and human relations climate of Team Randolph. People are alarmed, on edge, and concerned for their safety and base leadership is concerned for the well-being of all members of Team Randolph.

As we engage in a war against suspected terrorists throughout the world, we cannot react to the Fort Hood tragedy with stereotypes and prejudice against Islamic-Americans. Everyone has prejudices and stereotypes toward one thing or another. However, people need to be cautious prior to acting on those characterizations and generalities. It's irresponsible to form opinions before having full knowledge of the facts. Take the time to get to know people and clarify those perceptions and stereotypes.

If anyone experiences prejudicial treatment either off or on base whether it is due to race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, there are avenues to address those concerns. We must not let frustrations escalate. If left unresolved, it can have a detrimental impact on the individual, the unit and the overall mission effectiveness. Every member of Team Randolph needs to perform at his or her very best. Unnecessary burdens must be avoided in order to effectively accomplish the mission of serving and protecting our nation.

At the most basic level, we must learn to respect one another through understanding and acceptance. The best way to earn respect is to give respect. That is not to say we cannot discuss and debate the issues of the day with others. It does mean when others disagree with your opinion, you listen attentively and respect their opinions.

To be an effective organization, it is extremely important to learn as much as possible about the heritage and background of others, embrace diversity and avoid stereotypical attitudes and beliefs.

There are a number of ways to increase our knowledge and understanding of others: books, television and the Internet can all provide a wealth of information. However, the best way to broaden your horizons is to become actively involved and seek clarification before acting on your initial thoughts.

The Air Force Equal Opportunity and Treatment program is designed to improve mission effectiveness by promoting an environment free from personal, social, or institutional barriers. This can only be accomplished by ensuring equal opportunity and fair treatment for all, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or handicapping conditions.