Individuality seems lost among many people today, especially among the youth and young adults. It is a shame that today’s culture forces everyone into a group, everyone must wear a label to identify themselves as who they are. People are not people but merely a member of the group in which they belong. Ribbons were once worn to show support, now they are worn to show membership. Certain times, people receive public shame for not belonging to a group, ridiculed for daring to speak out against the status quo.
puts on my old man hat and hikes my plaid shorts to my nipples When I was young, it seemed every youth craved to be an individual, longed to be different. Terms like “sell out” was a shameful label to wear. Ask anyone under the age of 21 to define “sell out” and you will get responses like, “when the store is out of something, it was a sell out.”
History remembers the individual. Groups come and go. Some linger around long enough to make an impact, but not to the extent a person can. Many people can explain who Abraham Lincoln was, fewer can tell you which political party he was affiliated with. Go a little deeper and ask which party Thomas Jefferson belonged to. Few can tell you exactly who he was, even less can tell you which party he was in. Martin Luther King was an outstanding individual. He chose to go against the grain, to stand out from a crowd of dissenters. People on both sides of his fight found his methods unusual. Some hated him because of what he fought for, others who agreed with his stance thought his non-violent ways were weak. Yet, in the end, he is an individual that played by the rules he set. He did not fall into any one crowd, but borrowed from many to be himself. Einstein, George Washington Carver, Galieo, and Kennedy all were individuals, remembered for WHO they were not what they belonged to.
Without individuality we tend to become robotic, sheepish shells of what humanity should be. Without the stand outs, without the ones who fight against the norm we could be lost.
Today’s world is all about what you stand for, which group you identify with, or how you conform with what is popular. Popularity is defined by following trends, instead of setting them. Success is measured by how many people like you, instead of doing and saying what needs to be said.
I miss individuals. I miss unique people. I simply have to look to social media to see the norm, or what’s hot, who is popular. With those people, conversations tend to become one-sided, close-minded unwaivering views. Originality is lost. Questioning their stance results in public black-balling. Individuality is attacked.
To move forward we need to reinvent ourselves. We need a new “new”. We need ideas that go against the grain and people to stand behind them. I see these people poke their heads out from a technological veil, only to be vilified for daring to speak up. Many voices back down, never to rear their head again. Few are those who stand tall, claim a new way of doing things refusing to back down. MLK did and he will always be remembered. Individuals do. Groups do not.