Though this post may come off as if I’m trying to make some huge stance since the Zimmerman verdict is still fresh out, I am not. That is a topic that deserves to be talked about in a completely different blog, a different post, and I believe everyone can have their own opinion on it. This post is not correlated with it. Just a disclaimer!
Being a first generation native born member of my family my childhood has been nothing less than interesting. I think children have the best lives. You don’t notice the way people stare at you or when adults whisper it seems like nothing. I am additionally a firm believe that children copy what they see. Whether it be on TV, from their parents, or just trying to fit in with peers. Seeing how some children act to others is sometimes not the most pleasant experience to watch.
I guess it all started in elementary school. Now that seems like ages ago now that I’m in University and only a couple years away from entering the real working world. I moved to a different state for part of my elementary education and I’m not sure if it was the location where I grew up, but things were vastly different in the new area. While I was 3rd grade, I think plus or minus a year, September 11th happened. That’s when people started treating me differently. My mother is from a predominantly Muslim country, but what some people don’t realize is that the horrible people who attacked weren’t Muslim’s. I would never associate them with ANY religion, they were terrorists who had an extreme idea of what they were meant to do. I personally am not a practicing Muslim, though I am educated on the religion and believe every single person has the right to practice their own religion.
The taunting started to happen. All of a sudden me a child was an enemy to some people. I didn’t do anything wrong. Those people weren’t even from my mothers country of origin. Yet I was taunted. This followed me up till high school where one specific kid, who I must say was very unintelligent, would taunt me all threw class. This child wanted to become a pastor, yet would put down anyone he could especially me. In University it isn’t as bad since most people either don’t care or frankly think the country is in Europe (which is a tad bit horrible to think that geography is going down hill for too many future leaders of this country).
I first handily saw how some people handled a major attack that affected way too many people. This rubbed off on their children in the not most pleasant manner. We were all just children.
In high school when the boarder dispute was the topic of choice on basically every television channel another taunt was started. My name was irrelevant I was just “Oh that Mexican girl.” I mean what? At first I would retort back saying how I wasn’t Mexican, I was partially Spanish from Spain. Then I started to think what’s so wrong with being associated as Mexican? The people crossing were just people. It wasn’t anything new people had been doing it for years. (Personal opinion on the matter isn’t something I’m trying to argue here).
People would ask me if I wanted to mow their grass. No. I don’t want to mow your grass, you have two hands and two feet.
People would ask me if my mom was here legally. Yes. Would you like to see her citizenship papers.
People would ask me if I was legal. Last I checked I was born in this country.
Children are harsh and their parents were not much better either. I had a serious discussion with one of my friends parents about how I was legally in this country and how my parents weren’t trying to take her job. They have very nice jobs that they got all on their own thank you very much.
I didn’t choose what my heritage is. I was born into this world not knowing anything. No prejudices- nothing. A country started by immigrants was now attacking a citizen. All because I might look different doesn’t make me a monster. I am proud of my amazing heritage and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I didn’t grow up in a bad part of town, these were middle to upper-middle class parents and children saying this to me. I guess in a way I’m thankful for it. I have tough skin and have formed my own opinions on issues at an early age.
Will this nation every become one? If people stop judging based on the way someone looks then possibly. Until some parents stop teaching their children to act against a certain type of people then maybe this nation can change. Aren’t we all just trying to live fulfilled lives? Why can’t we come together and just enjoy life, you only have one so live it to the fullest.
Side note: I apologize for any grammar or spelling mistakes. I am writing this very sleep deprived, but feeling the need to share my story. Along my journey I have met some very wonderful people, but felt more compelled to write about the negative people.