10 February 2008
“Oh, you are a Colombian?”
Those are the words that usually follow after the rolling of the eyes. Ever since my classmates have been aware of the exaggerated news about the drug trafficking in Colombia, they suspect that I too am a drug lord. My main belief is that there are no stereotypes among individuals.
Stereotypes cannot only kill one socially, but can kill one on the inside. On my first day of my new elementary school, I was frightened. I thought about how I would fit in with everyone. During lunch, a period where kids usually mingle with each other, I decided to talk with a group of kids that looked “cool.” They asked me questions on why I moved schools.” I was sure that I was going to fit in with the “cool” kids until the special question arrived. One kid asked me, “So, where are you from?” Because my mom had told me since I was little to be proud of myself and being myself would bring pride, I told them that I was from Colombia. The kids then immediately all looked at each other, and one said, “Oh, you are a Colombian?” After asking that redundant question, they looked at me in awe and asked me if I had drugs in my lunchbox. No was the answer to that absurd question. People, or kids, thought that the school now had a drug lord attending it. Stereotypes ruined my first few weeks of elementary school. Those kids never became my friends.
Not only have stereotypes upset me, but they have upset other Colombians as well. During the 35th International Emmys last year Roger Bart, the host, offended a myriad of Colombians. Pirry, a Colombian producer, was nominated for best documentary. When Roger introduced Pirry as one of the nominees he said, “If Pirry wins this award, I cannot wait for the after party.” He then sniffed a piece of paper that he was holding as if it were cocaine. In Pirry’s website, he talked about how rude and awful Roger’s gesture was; he was appalled at him. He said, “I cannot believe that Roger Bart would publicly insult my country for his own amusement and have no remorse.” Roger, the scoundrel, never apologized to Pirry. Unfortunately, Colombians are not the only people who get stereotyped. Many people think that most Italians are in the mafia, or that all Indians drive taxis. That is why I believe that no stereotypes should be used among different diversities of people.
Ignorant people may think that Colombia is just land to grow cocaine. What they do not know is that Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Colombia houses the greatest variety of birds, has gorgeous roses, and has marvelous landscapes all throughout the country. Best of all, Colombia has extremely attractive women. It is true though, that in the time of Pablo Escobar, a dead Colombian drug lord, Colombia’s future looked bleak. Because of our pride in our country, we have learned to fight against these wrongdoers which led to the luminous Colombia of today.
I believe that stereotypes among individuals should be avoided; I, not being a hypocrite, have never stereotyped anyone. Someone that says malicious comments about a country without knowing anything of it is moronic. One might say that ignorance causes people to confuse the truth with the false and the false with the truth. I stand by my belief with full integrity, and I am proud to say, “Yes, I am a Colombian.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.