"I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
He had a dream but it hasn't come true yet. Twenty-five years later, that dream is still the purpose of those who restlessly fight against racism and prejudice, those who fight for equality and respect for each other, who believe in love, and who have faith in the human spirit.
It seems unreal to me that there are still people who consider themselves powerful enough to judge human beings by the color of their skin or their background. These people ignore the fact that the most important values are inside and have nothing to do with color or physical features, are still in positions of influence, and this saddens me.
Since Spain, where I was raised, is not a diverse country, I didn't realize until I came here, how severe the problem of racism could be. I have to tell you that I'm still perplexed, and although I've been trying to find an explanation, a reason that could explain racism, I haven't found one yet. It has made me feel that we have to do something about it. We have to convince people that a society where everyone is treated equally is essential to maintain esteem within ourselves and respect for each other. We can help to stop the problem by criticizing racism in the schools and by providing information about what a malicious problem it is. In that way, the coming generations will recognize the importance of equality among people.
I believe there are positive ways to introduce other cultures in schools. For example, we can promote activities such as the Multi-Cultural Fair held this year at Somerville High School with booths from different countries exhibiting maps, clothing, crafts and food. In addition, every country was represented by its dances performed by students. One result of the fair is that everyone learned a little about other cultures and traditions. It is essential to realize that the world consists of many different cultures which we need to respect as much as our own.
Sexism is an issue that I've been conscious about throughout my life. Ever since I was a young girl, I realized that boys sometimes thought of themselves as superior to girls. I still remember them not letting me play soccer with them, even though I was a better player than some of them. Even though I had always been aware of sexism, I didn't give it much importance until I was old enough to realize that it was, indeed, an enduring problem. When I started thinking about my future as a doctor, I realized that my chances of getting a good job could be endangered just because of my sex. Let's hope the inherent belief that men are superior to women will dissipate in the near future, because in our generation, girls and boys are growing up having nearly equal opportunity.
It has taken coming to the United States for me to realize that racism, sexism and prejudice are drastic world problems. They cannot be solved by just a few individuals. They need to be regarded as wrong and unacceptable by every human being. Together we have a duty to stop these three plagues to make a better future for ourselves and the coming generations. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.