This I Believe

Akta - Melrose Park, Illinois
Entered on January 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Believe. . .

At my high school there are many different Indians from the same part of India such as New Delhi. New Delhi is a city where there is more than one type of religion. There are Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jain, and Buddhists.

I’m from a part of India where there also is more than one religion. I’m Christian and in India according to Wikipedia, there are only about 2.4% of Indians that are Christian. So when people ask me what religion I am, I tell them I am Christian and they act as if it doesn’t exist. When people see me they assume I’m a Sikh, because of my last name. And I confuse other Indians for being a religion they are not. This is why I believe that ignorance plays a big part in our society.

I have grown up with people always thinking that I’m Sikh because of the way I dress, talk, look, and mostly because of my last name because according to all Indians all Singh’s are Punjabis. An example of this that I remember is when I first started seventh grade. There was an, Indian kid who would always say when he saw me; there goes another dumb Punjabi that always worries about herself. He would always crack jokes about what he knew about Punjabi’s like the turban that most Punjabi‘s wore.

When I was in eighth grade I met a new friend. When I first saw her I thought that of course she must he a Hindu and all Hindu people are strange and are aliens to me because they believe in more than one god. I thought you can’t even trust them. One day, she came over to me at lunch and asked me if she could sit and eat lunch with me and I answered “NO!” Five minutes passed and I thought I should let myself get to know her. So we started to talk and soon became friends. She wasn’t any different than I was. She was a sweet, loving, and caring girl. If this Hindu girl hadn’t attended middle school with me, I would still be thinking that all Hindus are strange and not to be trusted.

From my one middle school experience I started to realize that someone’s religion is just a small part of that person and that most people confuse others for because of how they look, dress, talk and in my case just because of my last name. It is only ignorance that can explain this kind of prejudice. Personal experience with all sorts of different people is the only way to overcome this kind of ignorance.