˜ "My aspiration is to become a human rights lawyer. I'm an undergraduate at UCLA right now and I'll be graduating in March.
I just got in to people's civil rights. Things like workplace harassment, women's rights, rights for people of color and things like that. I started to learn about that in college and someone told me I could be a civil rights attorney and that would be a direct way of helping so that's what I want to do.
I think lack of education is the number one thing that is responsible for these attitudes toward minority groups. Education needs to be our top priority because I learned about these issues and what's okay to say and how to treat people by having these classes in college. These classes should be mandatory in high school.
In regard to gender equality, I've had lots of experience with guys who won't accept 'No' for an answer. I've been asked for my number, said no, and they'll keep asking ten more times. There are even Instagrams where they'll post screenshots of women on dating apps getting harassed by guys. The women will say, 'Sorry I don't want to go out with you' and the guy will go off like, 'You fat whore. You stupid slut. Nobody wants you anyway.' That's happened to me many times and it used to affect me, but I've gotten to the point of shrugging it off and knowing they are just insecure.
I think the inability to take 'No' for an answer comes from entitlement because some men are raised to feel entitled to women's attention. For example, I've been walking on campus with my headphones in and guys are like, 'Can you take your headphones out? I want to talk to you.' I don't want to give them attention. I just want to walk home and take a nap. I don't want to talk to them, but they'll get mad if you don't stop to have a conversation. This is why we need more education. I mean we do have mandatory sexual assault awareness during orientation, but it's not enough and nobody cares. People are like, 'Oh, I'm not going to sexually assault anyone,' but they don't know the definition of sexual assault. I think that getting your ass grabbed on the subway is sexual assault, but some people don't consider that." ˜
There are so many issues in our society related to equality, justice and lack of education and respect that require more attention. I used to not be aware of my privilege, as a man, to be able to walk down a street without being 'cat called' or to not have to look over my shoulder when I walk alone at night. It's important that we respect each other and demand equality for all. I admire Ellen for working to create a direct impact on these issues. Follow her Instagram: @ellenlawrence.
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