"You’re eyes are blue…and you’re white, so you’re rich"
These words sent goosebumps down my body. But it was not the goosebumps you feel whenever you hear a warm, empowering song on the radio. The shivers were cold and uncomfortable. I was at my job, and in that moment I felt attacked. Speechless, but not thoughtless. I know that these words were not meant to offend me, but there was no way around it. In this moment, I wanted to lash out, but it seemed right not to. No, this young Puerto Rican lady did not understand my situation. She did not know that I had to have my first job at fifteen years old because I was scared to ask my parents for spending money. It did not occur to her that a "blue-eyed white boy" like me was working alongside her because he needed the money just as much as she did…
This stereotypical slander is important to recognize, and I believe I have learned an important lesson that I can apply to my gap year experience from this.
It's 2017 and I know we all see discrimination in our daily adventures. The African American community, the Native American, the conservative, the liberal, the female, the male. And these communities are only a handful I can name off the top of my head…But it never occurred to me how much society categorizes one another by looks. Of course, my selfish self never realized this until I was a victim.
The gap year even has stereotypical judgement.
I know my gap year has yet to begin, but I did recognize some of the gap year stigmas when I went through the application process(for both colleges and GCY/Tufts 1+4).
I am not sure if the gap year was ridiculed because it was a different path to a future or because it was known to be only attainable by the wealthy. But either way, I do know one thing— the ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about. I understand that it is super easy to assume things about others, but this habitual mindset is counterintuitive to humanity and our goals of equality. The principle of not judging a book by its cover is a strong one that can be applied universally. And due to recent events like the one I have just discussed, my eyes have really opened up to reality.
As a generation of people, we need to put a halt to the support for all types of discrimination. Instead of categorizing others and separating ourselves from one another, we can rise above and recognize the one similarity we all have–we all are global citizens. If we choose to look at our situations from alternative perspectives, we can then realize that we are all in the same game. And in that game, we do not get to choose our race, our birth status, or our eye-color.
I was born white.
I was NOT born into a wealthy household.
I was born with blue eyes.
I was born a global citizen.
And I choose to work for global equality, rather than against it.