If there is one thing about myself that I am most proud of, it would be my ethnicity. Many people preach on how people should “not see color,” but to me, that is a load of bullshit. I hold the belief that people should see color and appreciate it. Recognize the cultural differences that we all have with each other and love them.
Educate yourself, surround yourself with those different from you, and before you know it, those differences will seem so minimal compared to the similarities that exist. I would say that my ethnic background has been the cause of instances of discrimination in my life, but it is not my ethnicity that caused the discrimination, it is society. Never feel that it is your fault for the terrible and horrendous things that others can do to you. No one deserves the pain that they receive.
The first instance of racism that I remember experiencing was when I was in the fourth grade, about eight or nine years old. I had gotten in an argument with an old friend, and that friend had called me the “n-word.” Now, as a young child, I had no idea what that word meant, and I went about my day. I came home and told my mother of the argument and the exchange of words and she was livid. It was that day that I was told what a racial slur was and why people use them. It was that day that I was made aware of racism. Since then there have been countless moments where I have recognized that I was being discriminated against. Whether it was girls on track teams crediting my speed to my blackness or dirty looks getting shown my way as my interracial family and I dine for dinner at a nice restaurant, I felt the hate the same way and it never hurts any less.
The thing about experiencing the microaggressions, slurs, and other hateful comments and actions, is that you must reach a point of acceptance that not everyone will like you for whatever reason and that is okay. You could argue with every person who is hateful towards you, or you could simply accept that that person has their opinion, show them love, and move on with life. Moving on with life and moving past the harsh words of others is the only way to survive. Sometimes it may seem impossible to release the negativity from others that you have internalized within yourself, but it is always possible to grow, and it is always possible to heal your soul.
I remember one day in an Intercultural Communications class I took when I was at DePaul, a very wise professor once told us that the worst lesson taught to most as children is that “sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” My professor was right. If there is one thing that I have learned throughout my life is that most of the time, words do more damage than sticks and stones ever could. Physical wounds are mostly visible and can usually be healed and cured, but emotional wounds? Emotional wounds grow every single day and hide themselves in toxic behaviors and are much harder to heal. I know it seems basic to say we should all “treat everyone with kindness,” but if it is such a basic thought, then why the hell are things the way they are? Yes, sometimes words get said during arguments that we do not necessarily mean, but then apologize for the words that you have said and be sure that it is a sincere apology that comes from your soul.
There is too little time in our lives to hate others and to hurt others—just love everyone. The idea that love can only be romantic is agonizing. Love can be whatever we want it to be. Make it your goal to show everyone love, even those who do you wrong, because those are the ones that need to be shown love the most. Another wise professor that I currently have at Palmer College of Chiropractic told my class that, “an enemy is just a friend whose story you don’t know.” This is also something that I believe very deeply within my soul. People like to think that they have others figured out, but we don’t even have ourselves figured out. People like to talk about how they “hate” certain television stars and artists, yet what do we really know about them? Hate is such a dirty and painful word, but it is used so loosely.
The next time you find yourself getting angered with someone that you do not know, take a deep breath and remind yourself that they have things going on in their life that you do not know and empathize with them—never pity them. Pity is ridiculous. Feeling bad for someone is pointless. You sit there with a sorry look on your face and watch them as they continue to struggle. But when you feel empathy and become an empathetic person you recognize their struggle, imagine if you were to be in that struggle, and then act on that feeling you get from imagining.
Regardless of any demographic quality you have, I know that you have experienced pain and hate from someone. Everyone does. You know how bad pain hurts and how it feels to hurt. That feeling deep in your chest that you get when you think of that painful event or when you think of the words that were said to you, do not forget it. Remember that feeling and every time you think about treating another person less than what you would like to be treated, think about that pain you felt and realize that you are about to make another person feel that way. Once you become that person that makes another person hurt, you become no more than the person that hurt you. Be the lover, not the hater. Spread love. Xx
“Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.”
Flatbush Zombies “Palm Trees”