With Valentine’s Day approaching, relationships undoubtedly come to mind. But in the 21st century, what does a relationship look like? During this contemporary age, the meaning of what a “couple” is has changed.
Once upon a time, couples proved to be quite homogeneous. People of certain races, by the forces of cultural identity and societal expectation, tended to date individuals of the same race and of the opposite sex. Today, however, with new laws and the integration of new cultures, relationships literally have a new face in this country.
While these changes have permitted new relationships, many people remain unsettled with them. For some, this non-acceptance comes from religion, and for others, it comes from personal morals and convictions. This attitude thwarts not only societal progress regarding “modern love” but also change as a whole.
It’s disappointing that many couples still must undergo public scrutiny, discrimination and prejudice not only because of their public identity but also because of the individual they love. For example, two men recently attacked a gay couple in New York for holding hands. In many areas, simple signs of affection between two people warrant violence, hate and backlash. Is this how we are supposed to treat love in the 21st century?
This dilemma, I recognize, is common with any evolution our country undergoes, but to what extent is it right to discriminate against the love of another? And at what point can we consider the intertwining of individuals, different or alike, no longer beautiful but a perversion — if ever?
No matter what you believe, the answer to this love question is, fittingly, love in itself. Philia, often translated to “brotherly love,” is key to defining America as one diverse people. This doesn’t necessarily rely on our agreement of everyone and everything but rather acceptance and respect of another, which we all deserve.
To truly celebrate Valentine’s Day, we must perform acts of love to honor the connection we all share: humanity.