This I Believe

Stephanie - Evans, Colorado
Entered on February 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: prejudice

A Pain Greater Than a Broken Heart

No one should be judged and discriminated against because of their race. God made us all part of one race, the human race. I believe that racism is unfair because to Him, we’re all equal.

When I started my sophomore year in high school, I had in mind that I would finally date someone from my own race. However, it didn’t turn out that way because a non-Mexican asked me to homecoming and we started dating. To me, it didn’t matter what race he was. I liked him for who he was. After he told his parents about me, they prohibited him from dating me. They had never even met me. They knew I was a Mexican and that was reason enough for them to judge me. I was born in the U.S. like any other American, but that didn’t matter to them. I have a Mexican heritage that I am very proud of, and the fact that I was raised in Mexico until I was ten was enough for them to hate me. He and I were dating behind his parents back, but it only made the problems with them even worse because they found out about our sneaking around.

When we couldn’t see each other anymore, he ran away, but he had to come back. That convinced his parents that they couldn’t stop us from being together. In the next two months we still couldn’t go out much, or even talk on the phone, but he promised me that someday everything would be wonderful. Well, that someday never came, and his dad would tell him racist jokes to make him mad, and told him he would have to learn to deal with those types of comments from others anyway. Once, his mom even said to him, “Take that shirt off and wash it”. He told her it wasn’t dirty, but she replied, “You wore it around her. It’s dirty.” That really hurt me.

I had heard about racism, seen it, and sometimes felt it too, but never had I been a victim of it like i was at that moment. One time, I almost broke down. I just couldn’t stand his parents anymore. I screamed at him that it wasn’t my fault. He said it wasn’t his either. I knew his parents still thought I was a liar and a skank because that is how society has labeled me. I didn’t choose my race, but if I could, I would choose Latina anyway. I am who I am and his parents had to learn to accept me. My race makes up a part of me, but it doesn’t completely define me. People can’t be judged that way. It proves nothing.

When I finally thought everything would turn out okay, he broke up with me and I was devastated. His parents were glad; especially his mom who thought it was about time. That broke my heart even more. We might have gotten back together after our breakup but we knew his parents wouldn’t approve.

He has moved away, and I have almost forgotten him, but I still have not forgotten what his parents left imprinted in my heart. I never understood why they were so quick to judge me, yet didn’t bother to try to get to know me. How could people be so apathetic and racist? No one should ever have to suffer through such a miserable hell. But the truth is that people do all the time.