There is Only One Race

Maria Angelica - Oxon Hill, Maryland
Entered on December 14, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: prejudice, race

I believe that it is wrong to perpetuate distinctions based on race, because all humans are more alike in their very essence than they are dissimilar. Many people, who share in the ideology of diversity as benign, teach children from a young age to value the differences that lie within the individual. But racial dissimilarities between people increasingly produce hostility, anger, and hatred.

Racism is an unbreakable cycle. Only one individual is needed to carry that rotten seed for it to bear fruit in others. I came to this realization as a sophomore in high school, when, one afternoon, a group of black teenagers suddenly accosted me. These bullies began taunting me. The way they said “Chinese” made it feel like a derogatory word. They even had the nerve to make fun of the language by producing a butchered imitation of it. I became furious at them for their ignorance and their spite and their cruelty.

And, though I tried to ignore this public display of racism, I am ashamed to admit that it also inspired racism within me.

I found myself thinking thoughts that made me feel superior in comparison to those thugs. I thought of how being black made them stupid and incapable of distinguishing how I wasn’t Chinese at all, but Filipino. I thought of how their imitation of what they thought was my native language sounded ridiculous and I thought of how being black left them without the intelligence to realize that they weren’t even making fun of the right language.

And in that moment, I too, became infected with this disease: racism.

After several moments, I calmed down, enough to feel shame at how hypocritical my thoughts were. I had friends just as black as they were who treated me with respect. Color had nothing to do with the way they acted.

It’s mind boggling how we are unable to accept that, at our core, we are all essentially the same. Though our physical appearances, our personalities, and our beliefs may differ, our human nature does not. We are all capable of feeling the same emotions. All of us have felt sadness, pain, hate, love, loneliness, and great joy. A smile means the same thing all over the world. The raw emotions that we experience are universal and are the very features that bind us together into one human race.

Racism is a key component of the human suffering that this world has seen. It has resulted in an annihilation of the Native American civilizations, the mass enslavement of African people in the Americas, the genocide of thousands of Jews, and other countless crimes against humanity. In order to put an end to such tragedies, we must begin to see how in every instance of discrimination we experience lies the opportunity for us to renounce the temptation to react in the same manner, because if we don’t take action to curb this tendency, then we can depend upon a future equally contaminated as the past.