"Go Back to India!"

December 30, 2010
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I am often in awe of the strength of words. However, the irresponsible usage of such raw power is much more awe-inspiring. Take for instance, the perfect, summer day, that brought this article to life. The story starts in a park. Fenced in around the edges and separated from the world outside, the park offered the perfect place for the summer camp, which I was leading, to play. As a counselor, I dedicated my entire day to bringing the utmost fun to the children’s lives. Running around the fields, joy was apparent on the children’s faces until one fateful kick. The pink spongy soccer ball whipped above our heads and hit the fence with an ominous ring. The closest boy scampered towards the fence, eager to get back to the game. But, just then a car sped by and from the window came a shout, “Go back to India!”

Suddenly, the sun did not seem as bright. The grass did not smell as sweet. The day was ruined by merely four words. The boy stood shell-shocked as I rushed over. I tried to brush aside the words, change the subject back to soccer, but the boy just turned to me and said “I’m not from India. I was born here.” I couldn’t explain to him the reason behind such words. I lacked words to describe the hatred in people’s hearts and above all the ignorance that clouded their minds. We have all been victims crippled by hurtful words, however, we still choose to continue this cycle of pain.

My mind turned to class discussions in elementary school about America, its values, and cultural diversity. The teacher had asked us if we thought America was more like a tossed salad or a mixed soup. But realistically it’s neither, and it never will be salad or soup. The mindset of who is a “true American” and who is not is too heavily ingrained into our brains. In the near future, this fact will not change. It will always be a matter of the majority or who arrived onto this land earlier. Some think that discrimination is disappearing, but it will always remain; unless everyone’s minds can be wiped clean, there will always be unjust thoughts. The human brain works on creating stereotypes. Every time we meet a person, we automatically categorize them in a box by what they look like. Since our brains cannot be removed, neither can discrimination be. If there were a solution to discrimination, it would be to simply start changing the way we think. When people stereotype one another, call them out on it. Drawing attention to their actions will help them realize their mistakes, and change, even if only slightly, the future decisions of the people around. However, this would be difficult to enact. There can be no rules to control a person’s opinions or thoughts, and for that, the cause seems hopeless. Social change is one of the hardest changes to instigate.

As the kids and I shuffled off the field, I realized this sad fact. As I looked down at the children, who had become quiet and still, I saw them as the future and the continuance of pain and misunderstanding.

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Ryan W. said...
Jan. 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm
Excellent article, well written with great voice.
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