Racism is unnecessary animosity that has existed among people for long time. Every day people get criticized about their ethnicity or race. White racism jokes may be funny to some people, but they are overall harmful. Heschel once said, “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” I have grown to see his words come true since my childhood as the only Indian student in my school. Life in school was a very hard due to discrimination I received from my schoolmates. Jokes and hurting comments about my race was a common phenomenon as I walked to class, lunch and to my car. Sometimes, people asked the most illogical questions “Are you a terrorist?” I was deeply confused and insulted although I ignored any afflictive comments, hoping that racism would deplete as I got used to school. Nothing seemed to change and I did not know what to do.
I was left with no option but to avoid mingling with other students. However, before I implemented my plan, I realized that majority of the students didn’t know who I was and I decided to explain myself first . I shared with every student about my religion, my race, my background, and topics related to Indians. People learned that I am a Hindu born in England, and brought up in America. My parents were born and raised in England and it is only my grandparents who were born in India. Students changed from racial jokes, slurs, and derogatory racial stereotyping to asking curious questions about Indian people and culture.
Interest took over racism and students started treating me normally and with respect. Bullies turned into friends and friends became best friends. Walking to class, lunch, and to my car, was no longer a sad moment as I was charmed with questions and long conversations about my ethnicity. I never realized how people could change by knowing the individual and not ones race.
Many people lack the knowledge of the individuals and produce hurtful comments towards their ethnicity or race. They don’t realize how painful it is to the person and persist to continually hurt him/her. People need to be educated and informed about religion, race, and culture diversities. As people learn more about a person, racism will diminish and equality among people will prevail.