This I Believe

Briana - charlottesville, Virginia
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: prejudice

Do not judge others, this I believe.

At the age of 11 I was taken from a private school and thrown into the shocking reality of public school. Entering into a new environment with hundreds of new faces after being so close to my 12 other classmates was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I was teased, taunted and picked on for my clothing and how I wore my hair. I could not believe it! Until that moment no one had ever told me that there was something wrong with the way I dressed. The problem with me, I was a tomboy. When I first began attending this new school I had never been told that my clothing was inappropriate or out of style because no one in my private school cared what you wore, we all knew each other so personally that clothing never mattered. The most shocking part of this experience was not that I was picked on, but that once I changed my wardrobe the same people who had made fun of me were suddenly my “friends”. It was a revelation to learn that friendship could be influenced by such a simple thing as a pair of pants. After having this experience I will never judge others by appearance alone because it is a horrible feeling to be judged for something as simple as an outfit, when what really matters is a person’s character. I am currently a senior in high school and I still dress to fit in, even though now no one cares, but I do not think that I will change the way I dress because it was a horrible feeling to be ridiculed for such a simple thing. I could never want anyone else to feel the way that I did, but know that they do, every day. Be aware while hearing my story that this is a simple example and these degrading judgments range far larger than a middle school. Every day people are denied jobs or discriminated against because of their appearance and the negative effects of this can last a lifetime and change a person’s perspective because they feel worthless. This is why I am asking you to take back previous judgments that you may have made based on a physical appearance, because people are so much more than the clothes they choose to wear. By not being open minded and getting to know others, you are denying yourself the opportunity to meet a great person.