This I Believe

Dion - Boynton Beach, Florida
Entered on October 9, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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This I believe in being open minded. I learned a lot over the years but one thing that stuck with me is accepting everyone. I wasn’t influenced by a quote or story it’s more of past experiences.

I remember I was on the phone with one of my best friends we’ve known each other since we were 5 and she knew I was gay but she has some of her girl cousins over and they wanted to talk to me. When I told them I wasn’t interested they asked me why I simply told them I was gay and her cousin’s reply was constant laugher followed by “Come on your black your not suppose to do that”. I felt like crap but was more upset that my friend didn’t back me up. Experiences like these have challenged me with my belief but I let it go because I know how it feels to be put down because of the way you dress, act, or feel.

I really try to avoid stereotypes. It’s a big contribution to the problems we wave with conservativeness. I’ve had some terrible experiences with race issues since I was a little boy but the one that sticks out is the one that made me quit gymnastics. I had a musical theatre performance and I could not make it to gymnastics that day and my friend left a message on my cell phone saying, “ art is for crackers”. This wouldn’t have been such a big thing to me now but I was young and this was coming from a good friend of mine. The first thing I did was tell my mom I don’t want to go back to gymnastics.

I also think the school I am attending now had an impact on my way of thinking and viewing life. There is so much diversity there not only in race but also with people in general. Everyone accepts each other no matter how you dress, what kind of music you like, whether you like boys or girls, religion or anything. When I was in elementary school and in high school I generally hung out with the same crowd which were more conservative and that’s not me at all so I had to be careful with the things I said, or did around them. Fortunately for me none of them came to my high school so I was forced to hang out with new people and it taught me much more about all the different kinds of people.

Being open minded has taught me a lot and made my life a lot more fun. I like the fact that I don’t have one group of friends I am with all the time and when I am walking in hallways i am waving to all kinds of people and they’re waving back.