Overcoming an Obstacle

Jacquelyn - Austin, Texas
Entered on April 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: equality
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I believe in a world that has yet to exist. In the world I believe in, there is no such thing as discrimination or prejudice against any Latino child living in the United States, otherwise known as the land of freedom and opportunity. There should be fair treatment, understanding, and a willingness to make things easier for Latino children in general, as well as immense cooperation and collaboration. We Latinos aren’t “just Mexicans” or “dirty wetbacks” or whatever other racial slurs many people have chosen to give us for whatever reason. We are Latino, whether it is Dominican, Honduran, Puerto Rican, Mexican, etc. We’re not all uneducated Mexicans here to receive free handouts and do harsh and strenuous lawn work. We are the children of proud, honest people who have been discriminated against and picked on because of the honest work and labor that our parents and ancestors have willingly accepted to do. They do it because they truly care and seek to provide for their families.

The rash actions a few people have done shouldn’t alter your opinion of us and we shouldn’t be treated like crap because of it. It is unacceptable that we, the Latino children, are experiencing unequal treatment and discrimination here in the school system where we come to learn and interact with others. It is unacceptable that we, the Latino children, should have to feel rashly unaccepted and treated crudely in a nation that believes so strongly in unity and equality. It is unacceptable that we, the Latino children, are being constantly pressured to be ashamed of who just so we can please someone else and receive equal benefits that other people are given. It’s not our fault that we’re born with the skin color we’re given. It’s not our fault we walk, talk and act like Hispanics. It’s not our fault that we are Hispanic, period.

To me it seems immensely unfair- I’m trapped in a crazy world full of people who can’t accept other people simply because of the way they look or where they come from. I’m not addressing those who are fully understanding and kind enough to overlook simple things like skin color and race. Instead, I’m talking about those who are too hard headed and uneducated enough to refuse to treat us like real living people. People who act like this make life so much harder for me than it has to be. I feel like I’m caught in a horrible dream, witnessing and discovering first-hand what Latino children are enduring in their schools on a daily basis. I myself am not the one being picked on or messed with or judged daily- I haven’t experienced bad treatment first hand, and I’ve yet to figure out why. It’s actually quite embarrassing- I’m not Hispanic enough to be a true Hispanic, and yet, I’m not really qualified to be someone that stands out in the crowd. I’m just another face, stuck in the middle of a dreadful controversy. I’ve gotten to meet many people from many different Latino countries around the world, and I must say that I care about them dearly because of the daily trials and struggles they go through everyday. They are the Latino children suffering because of their last names and skin colors, or because of their different accents and the clothes they wear. It personally saddens me to listen to these innocent and misunderstood people depict their daily struggles and hardships. It is something I have never been through and something I could never imagine going through. It pains me to see them hurting on the inside, to see them struggle and try their hardest to put a smile on their face every single day. They struggle to please those who judge them the hardest, never understanding exactly why it is so difficult to please someone. I look at both perspectives of the battle and I can’t help but be embarrassed to call myself and American for fear of being automatically deemed “racist”. I also struggle to continue to be loyal to my cultural background and at the same try to make it high in this world. To me, it makes no sense. Why can’t we all get along and accept each other’s differences in a peaceful and humane matter? Why should it matter where someone comes from? What embarrasses and frustrates me to the point of no return is that there are teachers in the schools that discriminate on innocent children and scold them for being who they are. It pains me to learn that in this day and age, there are TEACHERS setting a bad example to children of all ages. I will never understand how some teachers can continue pretending they are making a difference in people’s lives in a positive way. I’m sorry to say it, but they’re not. They are scarring these children lives forever, and they are children that know no better. They are setting them up for failure through discouragement and harsh words that instead could be opportunities for much needed appraisal and the desire to work that much harder in life to succeed. I understand the frustration some of the teachers’ face of not knowing what these kids are discussing in their classrooms and in the hallways, but with enough patience and understanding, maybe they’d soon see that these children are not concerned with their hair or the way they dress. If only those inconsiderate teachers could see that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and these children aren’t out to make them look bad. Instead, if they really cared enough, they’d see that most of these children are interested in learning and wanting to better themselves and become more like the people in this country. I completely understand that not every Latino child is innocent and sweet- there’s going to be a few bad apples in every crowd, no matter what. Those few bad apples shouldn’t alter anyone’s opinions of Latinos as a whole. It’s stereotyping and it’s wrong. I believe that teachers, out of all people, should be the most understanding and respecting of Latinos because they are the ones that children are taught to rely on the most. They are the role models of the children of the future. What teachers do now profoundly affects how the children of the future will grow up and what they’ll become, whether they know it or not. Although my thoughts and beliefs may seem a bit overwhelming and difficult to accomplish, I believe that all school workers, teachers, administrators and children should treat each other with respect, and I believe that when that is accomplished, maybe the world that we live in will finally cease to exist, and we will all live in a much better world, together, united as one.