I Believe in Accepting Others

Anastasiya - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I did not meet a person that looked different from me until I moved to America. When I lived outside of U.S, everyone surrounding me was white and of the same religion. On the day I first set foot on U.S. ground in the Chicago airport, I felt astonished and frightened. The people surrounding me looked and acted different from each other and me. They ranged from Asian, black, Hindu, white to Catholic, Christian, and Buddhist, all mixed in together in the same place at the same time.

I arrived here at the young age of nine and I just finished third grade; I felt like a blank sheet of paper ready to be written on because I did not know a lot about the world or tradition and I did not possess many values that dealt with people outside my circle. In my first years living in a place filled with diversification, I absorbed the culture and the customs. I followed the examples of others, accepted their ideas, opinions, and feelings of hatred, dislike and anger for others. My existence overflowed with these feelings and ideas. I accepted all of them and nourished them inside myself and they slowly became a part of me. Everyone mixed in together but everyone segregated from others into small groups of similar people. There was the Hispanic group, the gothic group, the black group, the white group…and it seemed right this way. I did learn one thing from these divisions however, they accomplished nothing and no one achieved anything.

Last month however, things began to take a turn for the better with an election of a black president. As I occupied myself with the best solution for my family, the people, and things like gas prices, I forgot the anger, dislike and hatred. The thick dark wall I saw between myself and others disintegrated into a small shadow. I did not care that people were different from me and that I sided on the same goal with them, I wanted to work with these people and talk to them so that something would be accomplished. I listened to their opinions and did not turn my back, I agreed and counter claimed. I was having a normal conversation with people different from me.

Of course this is only the beginning of the long journey in front of me, at times those feelings still flow back into me like a powerful electro current and I feel awkward and out of place from the ones surrounding me, but with small steps, I can have accepted people different from me, whether by race or opinion or religion. And by working together towards a goal, we can accomplish something greater than us.