Disclaimer: Containing today, the Opinion section of the Daily Sundial is publishing an article series on discrimination in and around the nearby community. Reporters agreed to write stories in regard to how their lives are affected because of their race, culture and/or disability. Stories of how individuals lives are affected because of their race, culture and/or disability that aren’t represented by the reporting staff were contacted through organizations that represent them. If you feel there’s a story to be told about how the lives of individuals are affected by their race, culture and/or disability that aren’t being represented, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org, and its inclusion in the series will be considered. Stories included in the series were selected by considering the demographics of the campus’ student population. Content of articles in the series could be interpreted as offensive. Keep in mind that the series is meant to inform people about how differences are perceived and how they affect us as a community. It’s not the Sundial’s intent to escalate animosity, but to create understanding. Comments and responses are welcomed and can be submitted to the editor’s e-mail email@example.com for publishing consideration.
Many times when I’m waiting at a checkout line getting ready to pay for my purchases, I watch the people in front of me checking out. In one instance, the girl ahead of me was the same ethnicity as the cashier. I noticed that the cashier was very friendly to her, greeting her, asking her how she was, even saying “have a nice night” when she left. When it was my turn I said, as I always do, “Hi, how are you?,” and got no response, not even a glance to acknowledge my presence.
The first time this happened, I just brushed it off. I tried to assume it was something other than my race, because what did being white have to do with buying shampoo?
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that this happens more and more. The color of my hair, skin and eyes seems to set off a negative reaction in some people of other races. It’s not like I specifically requested the genes and DNA I got. We can’t decide what race we want to be.
The longer I stay in Los Angeles, the more I notice that I’m treated like a wart that has wiggled its way onto the more colorful, ethnic skin of the city. I’m ignored, bumped, elbowed, shoved and looked past. I’m not just a white girl, I’m a person and I have feelings, culture, opinions and emotions just like other people.
I’m frustrated with other races accusing only white people as being the oppressors, perpetrators and the ones doing all wrong when it comes to racism. I know that white people have and still do commit heinous crimes, but it’s not fair to assume all white people believe they are superior.
I treat people like I want to be treated. I don’t judge them prematurely because they’re wearing black lip liner, have cornrows or olive skin. I’ve made friends with so many people unlike me, because I know appearance is a poor indicator of a person’s personality. I just smile, act nice and am gracious that they’re hopefully treating me the same way.
The other day I was excited to find a scholarship that would help pay a sizeable chunk of my tuition. I got my transcripts ready, started thinking about my essay and marked the deadline on my calendar. Then I saw the blurb on the form that said “for minority students only.”
I can acknowledge a thousand times the troubles every race has been through, and I feel remorse for the things that the European ethnicities committed against other races, but I can’t take them back. The past shouldn’t dictate the present, and I don’t think it’s fair that somebody’s skin, white or not, can determine their eligibility for things like housing, financial aid and career opportunities.
We all know that certain races are treated differently because of the color of their skin, but that doesn’t make it OK to become a perpetrator yourself. I have friends that are Mexican, black, Chinese, Indian and Armenian. I respect and love these people as if they were part of my own family, and the color of their skin means nothing to me. They’re human beings, and I don’t define their value by their race. They talk, sing, dance, laugh and learn just like I do. They breathe the same air and their blood is the same color. We don’t look at one another as different because of our ethnicity. We look at one another as different because of our cultures, our values and our beliefs.
Moving to Los Angeles has made a massive impact on my life and views of diversity, but it doesn’t help that much of the diversity I experience is negative.
My heritage and my ancestry are European and I am proud to say that the person I am today is the result of many different nationalities. My great grandparents traveled long and far to come to America, and gave up many things to make a better life for their family. I’m not just white. I’m Swedish, Czechoslovakian, Danish and Austrian. I can be proud of my heritage without being resentful or ashamed, but I don’t think my family is any better than your family because we’re white. Our skin colors might be different, but we’re made of flesh and blood.
I don’t care if you don’t like me, but at least treat me like a person, because I’m a person just like you.