I find one of the beauties in life to be the innocence and simplicity of childhood. Growing up in a small town in Texas, I was unaware of issues facing Urban America as well as the rest of the United States. Like many other kids, my worries consisted of my parents letting have ice cream for dessert.
Around the age of eight, I remember my parents and I sitting down to watch The Blind Side. The movie revolved around Michael Oher: A homeless boy that becomes an NFL player with the help of his new found family. This movie introduced me to something I was unaware of prior: racism. Watching the movie, I was the divide between upper class and lower class and the divide between race. Seeing someone treated differently based on the color of their skin was new to me. Up until this point, I was blissfully unaware of these problems facing the United States. When the movie was over I asked my parents when it took place thinking that it must be from a long time ago. My mother informed me that is as based off a true story that happened quite recently. Something as simple as a two hour long movie changed my perspective on the world.
Obviously, The Blind Side is a Hollywood film; It has been dramatized and altered for the sake of entertainment. Along with this, the movie was not as simple as black and white. Eight year old me was slightly aware of this, however, I knew something was wrong with the picture.
Looking back, it seems odd that I had yet to fathom the mere concept of racism until that movie, but how would I have known? Children are not born with the understanding of racism. Children are not born with prejudice or bigoted thoughts or feelings. These are learned behaviors. The movie made me confused. I couldn’t understand how anyone could be treated differently based of the color of their skin or the money in their pockets for that matter. Although it is easy to say a child’s mind is simple, the inherent understanding of right in wrong is present in all of them.
After I watched the movie, I thought differently about race. I grew awareness of a divide, and I did what I could to not think about people as less as one and other. This was not something I had to think about doing before. My classmates however, most of them still carried their blissful unawareness. This did not last though. Later, all of them too had their realization that the world isn’t what it seems. It most likely wasn’t after one movie, but probably after years of exposure to the harsh realities of life.
I find one of the beauties in life to be the innocence and simplicity of childhood. It is said that all good things come to an end but maybe it is so in order for us to fight prejudice, to fight racism, to fight poverty. As my childhood draws to an end, I am aware of discrimination and issues. I have the power to change it. Although I don’t consider this a happy part of childhood, I also believe in it’s importance for adulthood.