This I Believe

Maximilian - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on April 22, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: race

I believe that all men are created different. When I say different, I do not mean that some groups of people are superior, inferior, good, or bad, I mean exactly what I said, different. Do not take this as an attack on the concept that “all men are created equal,” as I completely agree with that statement. To the same measure, do not compare this belief to the concept of “separate but equal,” which arose during the civil rights movement. This statement, which was never really equally implemented anyway, is not comparable to my set of beliefs because I would never wish to physically separate on the basis of color. When I say that all men are created different, I am acknowledging that people have different skin colors, hair colors, eye colors, and heights. Groups of people can be created by using skin color, just as groups can be identified by finger length, or any other frivolous physical feature. Calling a person racist for identifying someone by the color of their skin is inaccurate. In my opinion, someone who says “they do not see skin color” is just as ignorant as a person who thinks there is some correlation between the color of a person’s skin and their mental capacity. A future free from racism does not entail ignoring the differences between people, but rather accepting these differences. Racism is not identifying a person by the color of their skin, but judging them upon it. The same applies to ethnicity. I can not honestly say that there is no difference between someone raised in America versus someone raised in India. Of course there will be differences; these two people will have been exposed to different cultures, religions, values, and doctrines. The key to avoiding racism, or ethnicism if you wish, is not to disregard these differences, but to accept that different ethnicities are equal. What culture you grow up in does not make you inherently inferior, even if the culture deviates from the “norm,” whatever you take that to be. While this broad example may seem the most obvious, it is not the one we see everyday. In the United States, European, African, and Latin American ethnic groups may all live in the same neighborhood. This is where it is essential to accept the differences between these groups. It is not wrong to label someone by their origin, as long as you draw nothing else from this label. If you learn that a person is Mexican, you have learned that they, or their ancestors, are from the nation of Mexico, nothing else. Unfortunately, word such as black, and white, have all been vandalized by negative connotations that distort their true, basic meaning. Here lies the problem, and the reason that some people cringe at a label of color. It is not the labels that must be removed; it is the generalizations and connotations that come along with them. Taking away labels of color and race only creates a void to be filled by another superficial feature. A person who is a different color than me is a different color than me. Nothing else can be determined by this statement. This person is different, not more, not less, not better, not worse, just different.