The Minority

Colin - New Boston, New Hampshire
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe

I believe in the minority.

I believe in doing the small, everyday things that help the unprivileged and the disadvantaged accomplish their goals and dreams.

The big issue in the year 2008 seems to be the imminent presidential election and who will lead the American nation for the next four to eight years. I find it shameful to see people base their votes on the color of someone’s skin or the gender of a candidate instead of judging the person by his policies and positions on the current events facing the nation. I admit that I have stereotyped before and made unkind comments about a person before I knew him or her. The comments I made were directed at people who I saw as weaker, lesser, or incapable. I am not sure why, but I felt compelled to make a stupid joke because my friends were around. I would never have said that alone. I was the majority.

Just a few days before the New Hampshire primary, I had a hockey game for my high school team. As I waited for the bus at my school in Manchester, several groups of picketers and sign-holders supporting their candidate of choice stood on the corner of the street. Cold air filled the streets, and the supporters were bundled up, trying to withstand the bitter wind. As I watched the cars go by and the supporters wave their signs at people, I made a realization. I shielded myself from the endless breeze, just like the supporters of Barack Obama were doing, but there seemed to be a notable difference in the comments made about the supporters from passer-bys and people driving in their cars. Most comments about the supporters, who happened to be black, were racist and offensive. The comments made about the group of Hillary Clinton supporters just around the corner, mostly women, were sexist and obtrusive.

I watched more closely at the gestures and comments made about the supporters as time passed by. I tried to figure out why everybody was concerned that a woman could not lead our country because she became emotional in a restaurant. I tried to figure out why people were concerned that a black man could not lead our country because of his roots. As I contemplated, a white man driving by in his battered old car made some cruel remarks to the Obama supporters on the corner. It was typical to see. The majority oppress the minority.

I wish I had given the “weaker” a chance, those who I had put down because I felt bigger than them; I felt stronger, smarter, better. Instead I made them feel terrible about their situations, only making their ordeals all the more difficult. It was wrong and harmful, but I have seen my errors. I believe that I can make a difference by giving the next person a chance. I can help him up instead of putting him down. If I treat him like I would myself, if I make him my equal, maybe things will be different for him. Maybe I can make his dreams come true.