This I Believe

Chris - Wellesley, Massachusetts
Entered on March 9, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Prejudice is a horrible thing. As soon as you see someone, the first thing you usually notice is their skin tone. This color we see can cause our minds to make an assumption about the person. When people do this to me, I become depressed and angry at the person who is so shallow as to do such a foolish thing.

I am Japanese, and proud to be. But about 90 percent of the time, when someone sees me for the first time, they automatically assume that I am of Chinese descent. I would like to say that not all Oriental people are Chinese! Anyway, the stereotype goes to say that all Asians are smart. This puts an enormous amount of pressure on those of us who are Asian because not everyone in the world or just one specific race of people are at the same intelligence level. Sometimes when I am returned a test or quiz and someone nearby gets a higher score than me, they will say something like, “Oh my gosh! I beat an Asian on a test!”. When I hear this, all it does is put me down. Many count on me to get the highest grade; just because I am yellow. A banana is yellow, so why don’t people count on a fruit to beat them on a test as well?

Anyway, Black people are a target for stereotypes too. I find that at school and other recreational centers, many black jokes are made. Most of these jokes involve the black man being a crook. I don’t even know where people got the idea that black people are always the convicts. Even in movies and TV shows, the dark skinned fellow is the one that blends in with the shadows; sneaking away with his gun. Another assumption of black people is that they are excellent players at basketball. I have seen an African-American boy teased because basketball just wasn’t his sport; people were surprised to find that he was a very good tennis player; something others would never expect out of a boy of is color.

Lastly, Middle Eastern people are credited for almost every terrorist act that occurs. Even in movies today, I see the discrimination of this race. They are usually depicted as men wearing turbans who hide bombs on themselves and take control of a train or plane. It is unfair for these people to be seen as dangerous when the majority of them are not. It is wrong to assume such things whether it is a joke, for money, or even if you truly believe it. It is wrong to give someone a disadvantage based on their looks. Prejudice is wrong. What others don’t know is that it can sting.

Assuming anything about anyone, whether it is considered positive or negative, can hurt them in ways people don’t understand unless they have experienced it themselves.