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Watching the hate, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia openly plaguing our nation nowadays, I realized to my surprise I was brought up to be just like that. I spent a few years in the South American nation where I was born, and aside from a different language, principles and bottom line are so much alike that it boggles the mind. We are taught to dread everything that is different, we are taught to fear change, there are names, usually, demeaning to designate members of a different culture. Dismissing insult as nothing but a jest. As far as any gay individual, they are outright insulted with disgust and condemned to hell, if such horrendous behavior is not curved. And of course, religion, is shoved down our throats as the only true way by which to exist, and abide by teachings, that superior being demands from us all, otherwise, be sent to that place of extreme suffering, pain, and hopelessness…Does this place seem familiar?

And those religious zealots who cross themselves and call on god for everything and anything, ironically are the same who beat their kids mercilessly for a transgression or bad grade in school. They abuse their children physically and mentally, they drink in excess, they cheat on their spouses, they steal whenever possible, and some engage in crime as the only way to provide for their families. But they will scream and shun any woman who exercises her right to not bring another being into this maddening world, just because it is her body and her right to do with it as she pleases. Fear remains at the core of every action. Change is unknown and dark. The usual is safe, whereas ambition and ideas of different are product of influences we must avoid, or so we tell ourselves to excuse a routine we abhor, but it is excused as a must for those before us endured it and so must we.

Reading opened my mind, it told me of a world with different beliefs, idiosyncrasies, foods, likes and dislikes, colors, but just as valuable and for some just as the one and only acceptable ones. The contradictions and similarities are staggering and at the same time hilarious. Racism and rejection are taught early in those Third World nations, where wealthy look down at the masses with disgust, as if being poor is a disease. We are rejected because of how we look because our lack of material possessions. And in truth, those looking down on us are the ones keeping us down in the gutter, demeaning us, insulting us, degrading us. A few of those who were discriminated. may one day find themselves among the privileged and several of them will adopt that same degrading attitude to which they were subjected and treat others therefore with the same lack of feeling and respect they were once dealt with themselves.

Most of us are not taught to respect, we are taught to fear, -oh yes, usually abusive parents will rename the dread they produce in their children as respect-, but no, we are taught to fear, because if we go against what we were told there will be harsh consequences for wanting to be ourselves. If we were taught to respect, we would not harass those who are different only because we want to feel superior over others to rid ourselves of the overwhelming frustration the abuse, we endure…

It is frightening to accept our shortcomings and realize the power is within us to change and be better, accepting, and humble. Humble is not weak, but like please and thank you, a matter a courtesy and respect towards humanity.

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