There is one thing that humans, particularly Americans, tend to forget, and that is the fact that people are not things. People are people. It may seem simple enough, but too often I find myself judging people before I know them.
Becoming a Christian at an early age and growing up in a small, Christian school helped me realize early on that it is absolutely wrong to hate a fellow human being. Sometimes, though, when we are hurt, everything in us will be against everything in someone else. Before I let that happen, I have to calm myself down and realize that all people have some, even if it is very little, goodness in their hearts. Everybody is loved by someone and loves someone.
The fact that the subject of September eleventh has become more or less cliché does not change its relevance or its importance in my mind. I was in the third grade when it happened. Young, ignorant me had no idea of the significance of the events that were taking place in the greatest city in the world. A group of men, Muslims, killed thousands of innocent people. Families were shattered. Future dreams were destroyed completely. Family members and friends were hurt emotionally and it was so… easy to hate. To want to hurt those animals, those savages! But those were not savages who took over the planes. They were people. Humans. They had big dreams and families.
Because of the terrorists, too many Americans have become unjustly prejudiced against all Muslims. I must admit that even I was slightly prejudiced. However, this year my family decided to host a foreign exchange student from Kyrgyzstan named Janara. She is seventeen, only a year older than me, and, now, after several months, she and I have become like twins, totally inseparable and so similar in so many ways.
When meeting someone casually on the street, it is easy for me to make assumptions about their lifestyle and try to categorize them according to stereotypes in my mind. For most people, the process goes something like: “Hmm…This looks and acts like a square, so it must fit in the square hole.” However, people are not wooden pegs. It is not skin color, weight, age, hair color, number of tattoos, or accent that makes a person a person. It is essential for all people to look at each other with respect as fellow individuals and realize that each of us has a story. Is a person good or bad? How do you know? You do not know the person’s memories, his dreams, his nightmares. Not until you have walked in his shoes can you be the judge. I believe that people are people. There are people in the world out there, people just like you and me. People. People who are hurt, hungry, prejudiced against, and weak. People who have stories and families and memories. When we begin to see people as objects, then we begin to hate them.