Underneath the Lightest and Darkest Skin is a Heart

October 16, 2011
When I was a kid, I’d seen every other kid at school as a playmate without a mark of representation. I went to school in those years to play with the other kids, even if their skin was darker, lighter, or similar compared to mine, but things had changed. When I turned to my adolescent age, I’d been fully converted to see a Black as a Black, a White as a White, a Latino as a Latino and an Asian as an Asian; every race had their own stamp, and by that stamp we’d know who was who. From these stamps, we unofficially “segregated” ourselves into familiar enclaves that tended to, and only to, our own stamps. In these groups, we resented every other race mostly because of fear; we just wanted to stay in our comfort zones and distanced ourselves away from general society as a whole.
Through the years however, we, within our own groups, created prejudicial distinctions of others in other groups that spread and transformed to stronger and heavier prejudices – these prejudices soon became known as racism. These groups soon became enthralled by the notion that they could use these prejudice to their advantage. They spread these newly formed, racist remarks from person to person, and the victims soon found themselves belittled by these statements. In sudden turmoil, the victims created their own racist remarks towards other groups and degraded them the same way they’ve been. The cycle became predictable and soon groups and people were stigmatized by the way they looked, the way they talked, and the things they did. Each and every group were like giant red targets, and no matter how hard everyone tried to avoid it, everyone was hit. Asians we’re rice pickers with bald monk heads, Blacks were fried chicken addicts with bushy afros, Whites were country boys with buck teeth, and Latinos were immigrant posters with “Gomez” as everyone’s nickname. No one could avoid it, because it became part of society. Everyone has something against each other, whether they knew them or not; they didn’t view each other as humans unless they were of the same stamp.
The racism made stamps grow tighter and furthermore enhanced hatred amongst other groups; at this point, whoever crossed paths with another would be harshly hated upon. When I’d walk down an empty street, I couldn’t help but hear, “That Asian boy got no eyes.” Sometimes at school, I’d overhear the other crowd whisper, “Those Black girls can’t go a day without braids on their hair. Another day in the life, I’d hear the couple say, “Don’t those arrogant white folk ever care more than themselves?” For a disappointed, but brief period of time, I found these statements funny. They made me laugh like an idiot, probably because I almost became one, but gradually, they seemed more senseless and spiteful. These racist comments came closer than I could comfort and I didn’t want to bear the statements anymore than they fired at my ear. They metastasized until it became my own full-blown reality.
This was the misshapen life that I knew regardless, but I decided to break the cycle and found other people from other groups who wanted to do the same. I met a new friend of every race through a dance club. Between our friendships and over time, I learned their cultures and their perspectives of life; however very different mine and somewhat truthful towards some of the prejudice, they were not idiots and beasts as exclaimed. Everyone new that I had met was commonly aspired to simply be happy. Our languages were different from the slang, to the Asian, to the Hispanic and our traditions were very far apart. We shared many differences from our cultures and that exposed the root of racism, but our nature as humans shone common benevolence. We eventually had a potluck/dance to amass our differences into one melting pot of everything. The Black people weren’t as they’d been portrayed, but they were a vivacious group with a lot of life to their attitude; their grits, collard greens, and sweet potato pie were robust and flavorful. The Latinos were a more subtle group who projected themselves when the spotlight enkindled their spirits; they had beautiful carne asada wraps and civiche. The White people were a group who were more inclined to smoothness, but also showed liveliness when provoked; the homemade lasagna and meatloaf were delicate but sumptuous. The Asians were, well, I was Asian so I knew us fairly well. It was awesome, the people were awesome, and life was awesome.
The truth was: if I had never met these people, then I would’ve never known anymore than a rat would of Mars. I would’ve continued my ignorant lifestyle, stereotyped everyone else, and remained an oaf of the world. When I saw how wrong I was of the world and its people, I knew that I wasn’t the only one prone to it. So, the question that begged to be answered was, “How do we solve racism?” Was the answer assimilation to America? Was it to teach classes based on world cultures? Was it to form clubs strictly on ethnical relations? The answer wasn’t written in big bold letters, but from my experience with this, I thought it would be best solved through acceptance, common and exotic ground. I was captivated by other cultures, especially of their food, but I feared what I didn’t know: were these people dangerous? Would they hate me? The problem that stood out to me in this was that if the “first person” didn’t accept the “second person,” then the “second person” wouldn’t accept the “first person;” it was about taking the initiative and doing that which others wouldn’t dare. When they accepted each other, they needed to find common ground so they would feel comfortable; if you liked bacon, then it would be easier to have a conversation with someone who liked bacon rather than someone who didn’t, right? Then, when the introductions were done, they would delve deeper into the opposite cultures and find whatever they wanted that struck them as awesome. This wasn’t a foolproof method, neither was it even close to the greatest solution, but it was a start; a place to start is better than being lost in China. But to sum it all up: “Underneath the lightest and darkest skin is a heart.”





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