Worldwide

Being a teenager is all about seeing people come together. In times, especially like these where conflict, arguments, competition, and general drama dominate our daily lives, it's amazing when people can set aside their difference and unite for one cause. It's heartwarming, it's empowering, and it's exactly what we need - here and now. This just doesn't affect us, but the entire world. Earth comes to a standstill. It's the 2012 London Summer Olympics. We're about to go worldwide.

First and foremost, let's start with the actual opening ceremonies of the games. I can say, they were absolutely amazing. So many touching, heartfelt, funny, quirky, and totally British moments. So much overwhelming imagery, just plain beautiful and wonderful. From the olden days with the Maypole and country lifestyle, to the industrial age and the forging of the Olympic rings, to the tribute to the NHS (National Health Service) with Mary Poppins battling Lord Voldemort while kids jumped on beds and real doctors/nurses danced in choreographed fashion. This was absolutely brilliant. Queen Elizabeth jumping out a helicopted with Daniel Craig as James Bond, the teenage love story through the decades, and the parade of nations. The proud moments were endless. I screamed when I say my homeland of Ghana, and of course shoutouts to Canada and Australia. Then Team USA came roaring through and the proudness I felt cannot be put into words. Lastly, GB with my cousin, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, came strutting in and doing their own thing. All the countries' outfits were unique and representative of how diverse our world really is. All the blazers were on and popping, Czech Republic and South Africa were hitting it. Then there was the dove-winged bicycles, the passing of the torch to young athletes, lighting of the copper petals which became the Olympic flame - that scene literally took my breath away. It was a privilege just to be able to watch that on TV. Finally, Paul McCartney closed the show with "Hey Jude" and an epic fireworks display went off. To the artistic director, Danny Boyle, bra-freaking-vo such a great job. To all the volunteers and performers, the world thanks you for such a spectacular spectacle. Now, to the commentators, NBC's Matt Lauer, Meredith Viera and Bob Costas - the entire US of A is embarrassed of you. The rude, ignorant, and unnecessary comments were too much. The apparently creepy baby (that's Britain, deal with it), not knowing the man who invented the Internet (Tim Berners-Lee) was, and the totally uncalled for wikipedia-overload of unrelated nonsense during the country procession  - please keep your commentary to yourself. America is done with you. These London Games represent more than just the worlds finest athletes competing for gold, but the fact that peace and understanding still exist. Set aside what keeps us all apart and let's take this thing worldwide.

What can we as teens learn from the Olympics? A whole damn lot. Let me tell you, that putting away your predjudices, accepting your fellow person regardless of race, creed, sexuality or religion, and uniting as a people is the message we should be getting. I beseech each and every one of you reading this to take the time to think about how many people are on this Earth. It's time to realize that the United States isn't the only country in the world, there's a whole globe out there to see. Realize how beautiful things can be when everyone comes together. After the parade of nations when all the countries surrounded the torch, all those different people diverse in every way possible, in an array of clothes, accents, and ideals holding hands - that's what life is about. That's purely amazing. Lay down your preconceived notions, your grudges, your biases, and your inability to get to know people before judging them and open your heart. Open your heart, your mind, and your arms to people who may be different from you. Take people at face value, not some deranged story you've conjured up in your head. Understand that we're all drastically different, but uncannily the same in so many ways. To those of us in college, this is what it's supposed to be about (other than getting a degree) it's about broadening your horizons, learning to not just deal with people with diverse backgrounds, and ideas but to live in harmony with one another. I can personally attest to it, my college - the University of Vermont is all preachy about diversity but is a whopping 85% white. That's fine, and what not but people need to stop pretending that they're accepting. That word accepting means giving permission to be okay with. Let me break it down for you, you don't have to accept my having a different skin color of you - the point isn't tolerance it's learning compassion, empathy and how to relate to other people. Bring all the people you want to add some color, vary the gender roles, and mix us all up - we're people not some melting pot. When you start college, as you continue it, or just about your daily life - remember life is a worldwide phenomenon happening to over 7 billion people - you're not the only person that matters, we all do.

One of the most poignant moments in that opening ceremony was Internet inventor, Tim Berners-Lee typing "This is for everyone" for the crowd. The Internet is for everyone and so is life and the right to happiness, and peace. In reference to the tragic movie theatre shooting last week and white privilege someone said that people need to realize what that means. When things like deranged madmen terrorize and murder a movie crowd, that person is judged as an individual. No one is going to go out and be suspicious of nerdy young white guys. When a shooting happens in a urban setting, an illegal immigrant is deported, a bomb goes off in a public place or you can't understand a worker - all people of color are judged and grouped as the same. Stop stereotyping us all, and treat us like everyone should treated individuals. That's that - plain and simple, we're not all criminals, just like not all white people aren't criminals. When we can treated as equal individuals, that's when we can unite and come together. The Olympics is a visual testament to that. On another note, let me just say the Olympic parade was quite possible the most attractive group of people to ever be in one place. Like damn, good looks must have been a requirement to participate or being healthy just does that to you - coincidence I think not. I'm looking forward to the tennis matches, gymnastics, swimming and diving events especially. I'm hardcore rooting for tennis players John Isner, Mike and Bob Bryan, gymnasts Jake Dalton and Sam Mikulak, and diver David Boudia - plus the rest of team USA. Shout to Great Britain for such an awesome show - they've produced the Wanted, One Direction, Harry Potter and so much more. This really is a worldwide big deal, act like it.

Being a teenager is all about understanding the significance of certain things. Somethings really just are that important. The Olympics and the true importance of them is a major one. Watch some of the worlds best competitors go head to head to earn their countries some recognition and be amazing at the camaraderie between them all. Embody it and don't forget it. This is worldwide.

My blog post question for the day is ... who's your favorite Olympian? I like the Williams sisters, those girls can hit and grunt like nobody's business.

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