The Way We See It!
Student Thoughts in Writing
*EQUALITY FOR ALL*
By Kim Oceguera
I have always felt out of place my whole life. I never really knew what it was that I did wrong, what it was that I said to make people ignore me. I was a little girl so it wasn't like I could possibly find out. Although I vividly remember the day I found out like it happened yesterday.
I was in second grade and I was seven years old. I never had a friend in that grade. I didn't know why because at my old school I was friends with everybody. I was in the playground playing with a jump rope. This girl named Jessica came up to me and asked me if I wanted to play hide-and-go-seek with her and her friends. Of course, I jumped right on the chance to make friends. So I agreed, she took me to her friends and asked them to let me play. The kid who selfishly thought he was in charge said that I couldn't. He said it was because I was Mexican, and that was when I noticed it everywhere.
People would make comments telling me to go back to my country. That I didn't belong here! I didn't understand what they meant because I was born in this country. This was my country as much as it was theirs. I was a little girl so I would always cry. I didn't know what to say to them. What could I say in my defense? That I didn't choose to be Mexican! No- I was proud to be Mexican! I thought I was lucky because I was so close to my family; we would always get together and I had so much family I was never alone. I had a bunch of cousins that I could always play with. I didn't know why the kids from my school treated me like I was a disease and it could be caught just by standing next to me.
So I spent my whole second grade working up my anger towards racism. They were so young as well I knew their parents taught them to hate my race. I was a little girl working up so much anger I didn't have a place to put it, and that was when I got in my first fight. At the end of my second grade year, I had punched everybody in the face who dared say something in front of me!
I had no patience for anybody who dared say something to me about being Mexican, something I was so proud of. I always thought it was some people and that it would stop when I got older, but it never did. I have spent my whole life defending my race to this day, and I know I always will. But I am ready for someone to say something. I have been fighting my whole life. I was taught hatred since I was seven years old. I developed my own hatred towards the world. But I try to go with my life like it never happened.
I can't spend my life mad at the world. I can't just fight everybody who doesn't like me. Otherwise I would be in a fight for the rest of my life. I knew I had to be patient with people. Not everybody feels the way my second grade class did. Most of the time people just go along with what they see and hear at home. Our country was once filled with racism, but times are changing and I know that kind of change doesn't happen in a day or even a couple of years.
So, that was when I developed tremendous patience. I couldn't believe how quick tempered I was at such a young age. I have probably learned a lot since I was in second grade. A lot more than most people in that grade! While kids were learning multiplication charts, I was learning about how cruel the people were to my race, how to defend myself against racism! I learned to ignore people. I guess I knew it was their parents talking and when they were old enough to think for themselves, they would think differently.
My father started to talk to me about how to deal with it when I got older. I had told him about how I was so tired about the racism thing. I didn't understand how people could keep going. I mean they spent so much time being critics I didn't think they had a life outside racism. My father had helped me a lot. He taught me my patience. He taught me to look passed all that. That not everybody thought like that. He didn't want me to lose my trust in people!
I'm not full of hate anymore. I don't punch people in the face anymore. If people can't accept me for who I am, then why should I care about them or what they think? I'm not going to waste my time trying to befriend someone who isn't worth it. I am not mad that I experienced that but I'm glad that I learned a lot out of the situation. I just wish I wasn't so young when it happened. I have met a lot of amazing people along the way, and I truly believe that one day people will see other people for who they are and not what they look like or where they come from.
This experience has made me cherish my friends, the people who won't judge me for what I am but for who I am! I cherish them because they deserve it! Not many people have that trait in them, but life has taught me to appreciate what you get and I do. I can look back at that time now and not hate them for what they did to me but learn from the lesson that was taught. It has made me who I am today. And so with the help of my father, I have become a better person who doesn't hold grudges and can see beyond the mistakes people make. Everybody deserves a second chance!