I knew, coming into my Global Citizen Year, that not everyone had the correct perception of what an “American” looked like, acted like, or what their background could be. I thought I was prepared to tackle the problem head on and completely change the perceptions of those around me when it came to an “American.” I quickly realized that what I had in mind was going to be a lot more exhausting than I initially speculated.
To begin with many people will profile me as a white person simply because of my light skin color. They don’t see a Latino boy who happens to have light skin color, they see my skin and jump to the conclusion that I am white and nothing else. Of course many, if not all, of these judgements can be attributed to a lack of exposure to diversity. It is not the individuals fault if they have been conditioned to think a certain way about certain people, they are simply a product of their environment and have succumbed to what is considered the norm.
Another common misconception is thinking that all westerners, apart from being white, are also rich. I find myself constantly trying to not be swindled, always trying to buy things at the right price. I would argue that assuming that we are white and assuming that we are rich come hand in hand. People tend to have this idea that American streets are lined with gold and everyone is happy and healthy and there are no problems. Again this is also a repercussion of a lack of exposure. The reality is that many people work day and night to support their families, to try and give them what they consider to be a better way of life. It is not their fault that they don’t know that there are millions of Americans living in rundown apartments, packed in trailer homes, or on the streets. It would be ignorant of me not to recognize that the average American does have a higher salary than the average Indian, that isn’t an incorrect assumption it’s a proven fact. There is judgement everywhere you go, and it seems to be unavoidable.
Sadly, this is true of people everywhere and is even present in American western society. People constantly judge others by the way they look, talk, walk, they judge everything about everyone. We all seem to care so much about what others are doing that we don’t focus on ourselves. Instead of judging others why not applaud them? Applaud them for being an individual, for standing out enough that they caught your eye. Who cares about being weird, aren’t we all a bit weird? We are all different in ways that we can’t even comprehend. If we all just stopped judging each other and decided to be content with who we are and what we are surrounded by the world will be a less hostile place.