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Being Human – ¡OYE! Magazine

I want to be human. I don’t want to be Mexican. I don’t want to be white or dark skinned. I don’t want to be Hispanic. I only want to be human. I don’t want my neighbor to be Asian or my coworker to be African American; I want them to be human.

We are living in difficult times when it comes to racism. It is very sad to see videos online where racism is brutal. A friend told me that’s why she does not watch online videos; but that is nothing more than “Out of sight, out of mind;” unfortunately, the fact that one does not see that the problem is happening does not make it go away or become less serious. I don’t like watching videos of fights and accidents and morbid things, but I feel that being witnesses to what is happening in the world is important. We live in times when the immediacy of information makes it almost impossible to not be up to date; and ignorance is something we should all avoid.

It is possible that that same immediacy of information is what makes us feel that the problem has become worse, although I do not believe this is so. I don’t think this is a problem of perception. What I do think is possible is that the multiple forums available have made it easier to spread hatred and repression. In 2015, the number of so-called hate groups rose 14%, which means that there are about 250 new organizations that promote racism and xenophobia. This was also the year that Donald Trump entered the political race and began to speak badly of Mexicans and Muslims.

Each minority group he attacked was outraged and probably thought that with this discourse he would lose millions of votes; however, this did not prevent him from winning the nomination for the Republican Party and later the presidency of the United States. This shows that a great portion of the population who can vote, does not see racism and xenophobia as something negative, in fact, it is likely that he led them to think that if a presidential candidate feels that way his behavior is acceptable and they could also express it. This was seen in his rallies and other public places where people shouted in favor of building a wall, an idea Trump stated as part of his proposals.

Throughout the years, we have become desensitized; we have lost many important things, like values and traditions, including empathy and loving our neighbor. I don’t know if it’s sensible to think this way; but every day, when I think that someone died of hunger or thirst, I feel very impotent. How is it possible that there people that have millions of dollars in the bank and there are children dying because they did not have access to drinking water? In what kind of world do we live in, where it seems acceptable to waste tons of food everyday, while millions die of hunger? Who are we and what have we become, and most importantly, where are we heading?

When addressing these topics I ask myself: what am I doing to change things? My answer is “probably too little.” I don’t have the means or the technology to create a radical change in the world, and I can’t do it alone. I respect my neighbors and help then when I can. If I see that they left the lights on in the car I tell them; or I let them know that the person in charge of violations is coming on the day of sweeping the streets. With this I not only save them a bad time or the fine money; most importantly, I leave them thinking that someone did something for them and they may then let a pedestrian pass or give a dollar to the student who plays the guitar at the corner to pay for his studies. That pedestrian may then help an old lady cross the next street and that student may become someone who helps take drinking water to the communities that need it. Also, if I see that my bread will become stale in a couple of days, I save what I will use, make sandwiches with the rest, and go out walking with my daughter to help those who don’t have food and a roof over their heads. In doing all this, I not only helped those people ease the pain of their empty stomachs, I also sowed something… and maybe that seed that I planted in the mind of my daughter may be what changes the world. I want her to grow up with the mentality that we need to help one another.

We need to be more compassionate, emphatic, and supportive. The world is in dire need of a change because we have been led to believe that we are not all equal. We need to stop believing that if someone lives on the streets it is because he or she made the wrong decisions, and while this may be true in many cases, we don’t really know and should not judge without knowing the whole story. Stereotypes based on race, religion, and even appearance need to end. We cannot see what is different with hatred. We can’t presume that everyone of a certain color or nationality is a criminal or a drug trafficker and that everyone of a certain religion is a terrorist; we can’t think that, because of a few, all politicians are corrupt and police men, racist. That is the problem with the discourse we have been hearing here and there. I think it’s equally incredible and sad that so many people repeat it.

We have a couple of roads that we may take. The first one is easier and probably, because of this, it is the most popular… and it is to do nothing. It is simpler to not become involved, not help and look the other way, and in the worst of cases, join hate groups. The second road requires time and effort, but if we care about creating a better world, we need to start by letting our example show as many people as we can the importance of respecting life, helping others, being honest, not littering, not bullying our classmates or our coworkers because they are different, and being more human. The first road is being part of the problem; the second one is being part of the solution. Everyone is free to take the road he or she wants. I choose the second road, because before being of a certain race, gender, religion, social group, etc., I want to be human.