I Believe In Eating From the Melting Pot

Shauntell - Cross, South Carolina
Entered on July 30, 2007

I believe that this world is truly a melting pot, and we must all eat from it. In doing this, we must all learn and take part in each other’s culture and way of life. When we actually take the time and think of this world, we will realize all the people included in it come from different races, religion, and social backgrounds.

I remember when I was just about to go to the 5th grade, my mom and I went to Europe for a few weeks during the summer. While there, we definitely considered ourselves outsiders. We didn’t know the language; we didn’t even purchase a book for translations. All we could depend on were the few people we met who did speak English, and at times they were very few. The only German we knew was “hallo!” The only French we knew was “bonjour.” We definitely didn’t know any Italian. We ate what we could recognize, which was pasta and pizza. From having that exposure and experience in the world I knew I had to learn another language. This led me to begin taking Spanish classes.

As Americans, we always complain there are too many immigrants coming to our country: they need to know how to speak our language; they need to live the way we do; they must leave their beliefs in their home country and take on part of ours; they must do only as we say! And since 9-11 it seems as if we suspect only one race and religion as the cause of everything going wrong. This is how we say, “Welcome to America.”

An instance of this “friendly welcome” was a little closer to my own friendship. I have a friend who is a Muslim. I had never seen her in her hijab until a few weeks after starting at a new school. She was embarrassed; she knew how the others would react to her. She didn’t like being Muslim, but she didn’t have a choice. As a friend, I hoped others wouldn’t tease her, but being children new to the world we criticize everything we see. That day was a crying moment. When her mom dropped her off in the morning she was seen with the scarf. Before the time the morning bell rang, the scarf was removed.

I think this world is so sad, that instead of encouraging people to be different and standing up for what we believe, which is how America was founded, we tear others down in every way possible. Why can’t we learn from one another? If we didn’t learn from one another then we wouldn’t be the America we are today; some of us may not have ever existed. When I look at the news today, every person who is fighting to make this world a better place has a different race, religion, or way of life.