This I Believe

Joshua - Doraville, Georgia
Entered on February 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

‘I Believe in You and Me’

I believe in You and Me, whoever “You” may be. Whether hetero-, homo-, or bi- sexual; whether you worship God, Allah, Buddha, The Virgin Mary, or nothing; I don’t care. I don’t care if your body is covered with piercings and tattoos, or if your hair is dyed purple and your color of preference is all black. I don’t care if the pigments in your skin make you darker than me, or if your eyes have a uniquely shaped slant, or if your heavy accent prevents you from speaking this self proclaimed universal language we call English. I believe in progressing from the past by changing the now. I believe in You and Me.

Growing up in a predominantly black area, life was far from simple for a guy like me. I am Hispanic. Both of my parents proudly hail from Honduras, but in my neighborhood, if you’re weren’t black, you were white. Guess which one I was. I was raised in an all black elementary, middle and high school and, needless to say, I knew more about black history and culture than most black kids but regardless of the many black friends I had, I was still ridiculed and taunted for being different. I used to read Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and what I recently noticed is that when Dr. King’s name is brought up, people instinctively say “I have a dream”- but they never finish. They fail to realize that his dream was equality for all, not just for blacks.

The hardest obstacles I faced growing up was to ignore ignorance. I remember walking hand in hand with my then girlfriend when two blacks guys passed us and one said “Look, white boy got one of ours” to which my girlfriend angrily shouted “He’s not white, he’s Latino stupid” and they responded “ Oh snap, a Mexican got one of ours!” I tried walking away but I found myself slowing down to their laughter and chants of “La Cucaracha”. I got into a fight that day and months after realizing what I had done, I was more upset with myself for adding to the ignorance by fighting. I then knew why Dr. King didn’t use violence to get his point across; nothing ever gets solved.

The confrontations I’ve faced with different races only aided me in growing into the person I am today and to the person I will become. It’s why I choose to never portray that ignorance that so many others have portrayed through the test of time. It’s why I stand alone at times, wondering if things will change. It’s why I believe in You and Me, so that they can believe too.