In “Long Walk to Freedom” an autobiography by Nelson Mandela, he writes that,
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite (622).
Growing up as a child, I was taught never to judge a person based on his/her appearance or prejudice against someone. I was taught never to discriminate based on race or color but to love and respect everybody. I remember my mom constantly reminded me that I was special, smart and created equal just like any other person on earth. I guess she was preparing me for the future because I never knew the purpose and psychological impact of her words until I started high school.
During my history class in high school, we were taught how Blacks were taken away from their home (Africa) as slaves in a strange land just like how an eagle snatches its preys (away from their mothers). We were also taught how we (Blacks) are underprivileged in enormous ways compared to Whites. Anytime I come home feeling “less human” compared to other race based on what I read in history books, my mom will inspire me by saying, “be grateful and appreciate who you are because no matter the situation you find yourself, you have some privileges others do not have.”
I successfully graduated from high school with a feather in my cap and I gained admission to North Dakota State University. I live off campus and across the street of my apartment, there is a homeless guy who always come to sit under a street light pole to beg for money and food. Anytime I pass by him, I remember the words of my mum (“be grateful and appreciate who you are ……..”) then I tell myself that, no matter how hard life may be, I am privileged than the homeless guy. So I began to be nice and generous towards him: I always say “hi” to him anytime I see him and sometimes, I give him money or food. This kind gestures I showed him created a sense of trust and friendship between us to the extent that, he tells me about his past life.
One day, we engaged in a conversation, I was curious why he is homeless so I asked him how he ended up on the streets. He says he was born and raised in a poor black community. Neither his parents nor grandparents ever had the opportunity to go to school but fortunately for him, he was the first in his entire family to go to school.
His family could not provide three square meal a day and did not have clean water to drink. It was easy for me to share his pain because I remember my parents were laid off work when I was in 12th grade. Life was a bit harder for us for several months so I know how it feels to be poor.
He continued by saying, he was not punctual in school because his family had no ride so he walked several miles to school and the worst part is that, his entire family lived in a dilapidated house with no electricity. Against all...