This I Believe

Jamilla - Surgarland, Texas
Entered on December 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: golden rule

As I live in America, the land of the free, I hope to see equal faces everywhere. I look at those how I would want them to look at me, with smiling faces and love and compassion for those who are different. Everywhere in America is not like this. You cannot turn every corner, every street, every sidewalk, and find this principle everywhere, but you can sure hope for it.

My friends and I, we laugh, we play, we have fun together, not knowing that we are as different from each other as a lion is from a lamb. We don’t care. We accept each other for who we are and all that we have.

I love finding the differences in people and embracing them. Two of my closest friends both speak Urdu, their native language. Sometimes they are embarrassed to speak in front of me, in fear of offending me, but I encourage them, and sit there and listen. Even though I cannot understand, I’m still fascinated because it is very unlike my own native language. The more they speak, the more I want to learn it for myself, so that maybe one day I can join in on their conversation. Not many people are like this. I hear some say, “This is America, speak English!” or comments toward Spanish speakers saying, “This is not Mexico.” Do they say this because they are so different, and the only way they can be accepted is if they speak English? Or do they say this only because they don’t understand? Either way I feel it is not right. I know this world will never be anywhere near perfect, but we should still treat each other with decency and respect.

My family and I are from African decent. Many times, after church, we would do a little grocery shopping. Periodically you would catch me in African attire but very rarely. On these rare occasions you are likely to see other families too, with African attire. When I see this, I feel overwhelmed. You feel a sort of connection with them because of what they’re wearing. They might not come from the same place, but you know they came from good, old Africa. When I do wear the attire and go out, I feel like an outcast. People look at me differently, and you can tell what is on their minds. I think to myself, “Do they really look at me as an equal, or as a foreigner?” It hurts sometimes. However, some people are very open. They would come right up and tell how beautiful I look. These are the real Americans I hope to meet everyday, ones that accept me for who I am.

Aren’t we all Americans? In some eyes we are, in some we are not. I believe that in America, this question is hard to answer. We should all try not to judge, to put people in different categories, because to me, we are all in one category.