It’s a State of Mind

November 4, 2010
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A seven year old girl is shoved by one of her classmates. The typical and expected response happens when the little girl pushes the little boy back. What isn’t typical is the teacher’s reaction. The teacher approaches the little boy and told him to “push her back”, but the little boy is scared and doesn’t move. He has no response maybe because he knows he is at fault. The teacher stares at the little girl with anger and says “well if you don’t push her I will!” With that she shoves the little girl down on the pebble covered ground. The little girl begins to cry as she looks at the broken skin on her hands and knees. She is sent to the nurse to get bandaged and then sent home.

What made the teacher feel entitled to abuse her position? Why did she believe she had a right to lay her hands on a child? It was a different era; it was Arizona; it was a Latina girl; and it was my grandmother. Considering the debate on racial profiling and the arguments on discrimination one could agree that times have not really changed even though racism legally ended with the Civil Rights Act. However, even though laws prevent segregation and discrimination it does not mean that sentiments and beliefs have changed. Discrimination comes in all forms and is voiced by all types. People find themselves victim to it because of body shape, gender, religious beliefs, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and skin color.
People can argue that racism no longer exists with the election of Obama, but the political arena and lack of respect for our new leader tends to make others think differently. For years the white American male has been the powerhouse in our country and does not accept change easily. And even though “Change” has become a motto in our country it is not a unanimous belief. Discrimination continues to rear its ugly head as people protest same-sex marriage, immigration reform, the Dream Act, and building places of worship. Sentiments of resentment and pain don’t suddenly disappear because of written law and that’s been proven over and over again. So what has the law actually done? In the 21st century the teacher who shoved my grandmother would lose her job and find herself in a lawsuit, but it wouldn’t prevent her from thinking she was right. It wouldn’t prevent others from thinking the little girl deserved it. And it wouldn’t prevent the little girl from feeling like she was less of an American because of her skin color.
Having anti-discrimination laws don’t stop emotional scarring; it’s not diminished and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Those feelings are carried from generation to generation and it generates hate. Intolerance forces assimilation and destroys the differences that make people unique. Children are taught not to be proud of their cultural differences and others are taught to oppose “change”. Until we start to admit our wrongs and accept the differences; until we stop blaming someone else; until we stop trying to decide who is less deserving we will not be able to move ahead as a nation.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

educ8r said...
Dec. 8, 2010 at 10:16 am
Love the story and the fact that you took a personal family event and applied it to our lives today.
woody.cabrera said...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 1:08 am
Great job, Andrew. Although your article tells a story of racial discrimination, I really appreciate that you associated it to all types of discrimination. Very impressive...
kteacher said...
Nov. 15, 2010 at 11:07 pm
Wow!  Very Profound Andrew and very well written!  Kudos to you!
marshmellow.jacket said...
Nov. 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm
Wow, this is a kool story, especialy since its true. I love how you took a real scenario from then,  and was able to relate it to now, well done
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