This I Believe

Colleen - Antrim, New Hampshire
Entered on November 6, 2007

I Believe

I believe that human kind is on its way to destroying itself. As a culture we use prejudices and stereotypes as a weapon and a shield. We hide behind the fear of the unknown or misunderstood differences. Our humanity is being stomped out as we allow our fears to destroy our true conscience, the true human inside of all of us. How can human kind wash away the fear to start a new revolution of hope? It has to start with the individual.

I believe that I need to stop looking at the color of a person’s skin and a person’s gender and start looking for the potential that a person has for making my life better. I need to work through my fear that people of color are out to harm me. I need to let the fears of my past, of my parents, go. I need to do this so I can move on and embrace what people of other cultures can teach me.

Teach me about the world, their culture, and myself. I have never been very good at facing my fears, it is always easier to hide behind them and make up excuses for not moving on. How will I be able to teach my students about other cultures if I do not make the effort to learn and accept the people from them?

Getting over my prejudice that every African American male is out to hurt me will be hard. I am allowed to start small, to start with one person. I can approach an African American male on campus, someplace I feel safe. I can simply ask him for directions. Will I be able to quiet my mother’s shrieking in my mind to run? Will my legs obey me to stay still and be calm? The only way I can answer those questions is to find out for myself.

If I am going to change how I feel about African American men I have to be prepared to start. I know I can make this small step. My shield of prejudice will start showing cracks if I am successful in this small step, this simple task. My weapon arsenal of stereotypes will start to crumble, only to be replaced with stronger weapons of understanding, trust, and hope.

I believe that if I can make this small step toward understanding I will then be able to help other people start to get over their fears, their stereotypes, and their prejudices. To be a better human as well as a better teacher, I have to face my fears to be able to project the true essences of who I am inside, a human who has found and treasures her humanity and all humans.