Breaking Free

Grishma - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on May 8, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Breaking Free

It saddens me to see the type of a narrow-minded society that we have become; however, it doesn’t surprise me. We live in a deeply divided society. There aren’t any qualms about that. One would hope that living in a global world we would be a united and a peaceful society. The human race today is caught in the jaws of racism and discrimination. We tend to view anyone who doesn’t look like us, dress like us, talks differently as not “one of us.” Instead of valuing diversity we tend to avoid it or discriminate it.

I make for a good example. The reason being I am a woman of color. The society likes to call me “brown.” I was brought up in an African country and that’s the place I call home. It is the only home I have ever known. Unfortunately, the “Blacks” don’t consider me one of their own because my skin color is not “black.” At first, I was surprised that I had to be of a certain color so that I could be considered African. I had never paid attention to my skin color but now I became conscious. It hurt that I had to prove my identity amidst snickering from fellow Africans. . I vividly recall a particular instance, when an African girl howled with laughter when I told her I was from the same country as her. She then told her friend who joined her in the “fun” as well. Later, they asked to see my passport to prove my identity. I never felt so humiliated. I then decided to accept it. It hurt but there was nothing that I could do.

Then one day as I sat pondering my situation, I came to realize it is in the human nature to judge people, avoid people who look different than us, hate people other than our own race because that’s what we grew up seeing and listening. It is not one person’s fault but society’s fault for that’s the way society has molded us. I then forgave every “Black” for “rejecting” me. I made up my mind to accept and embrace my difference. I realized I am unique and it did not matter whether someone else considers me an African or not. I am an African and I do not have to prove it to anyone. I believe we have it upon ourselves to break free from society’s stereotypes.