Never Judge a Person by the Color of Their Skin

Allen - Perrysburg, Ohio
Entered on October 16, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, family, race

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. I agree with this statement and believe in equality for all. What is the reason for judging someone by his or her skin color if that has nothing to do with a person’s personality? The people with a different skin color can’t help the fact that they are African American or Asian.

I have grown up around a father who judges an individual by their skin color and lived in a small suburb primarily made up of Caucasians. Engraved in my mind was the impression that if I went to Toledo or Detroit I should not take any valuables and should watch out for black people walking around. My father would always tell my family and me to get out of the car quickly before we got jumped. I was also told to stay away from them since they only cause trouble. For about eighteen years, until the middle of July 2008 was when I found out I would have an African American roommate from Detroit in college, I was guilty of stereotyping. My thoughts were controlled by stereotypes, so I had a good guess he was black because of his name and where he was from. When the day came and I had a black roommate for college, I started to gather items that I never would have bought if he had been white. I went out and bought a safe along with a security cable to lock up my laptop. As the day became closer to when I would have to live with him I started telling myself I need to look at race in a different way otherwise it would be a long school year. I have never had an African American friend. I wondered if I would be able to understand what he was saying. Are the people he is friends with trust worthy?

The day came and I was nervous, I did not know how to think, should I think how my dad has always taught me or should I come in with an open mind. After living with him for a few days I noticed he had not touched any of my personal belongings and things were not destroyed in our room. Slowly he began to earn my trust. Turns out, living with him for over two weeks now he is one of the most trust worthy people I have known. He is just as caring, enjoyable and smart as anyone else I know. I would be shocked if we were to ever have a problem this year.

I have learned my lesson on judging people based on stereotypes and I thank him for that. The statement “you should never judge a book by its cover” parallels the fact that you should never judge a person by their color. Color has no effect on a personality; it’s the actions a person chooses that define you. What Martin Luther King said might not have totally come true yet about our nation but living in a dorm has made his statement come true to me.