My first week of college this semester is now finished! And I have so many great new friends to show for it :) The first week is always the hardest, I think. Just getting used to the new schedule, the new places, and the people can be hard.
So with my Spanish and Communication classes, I was thinking about the immigrants who come to live here and don't know how to speak English well or even at all. I've seen them work as cashiers, build buildings, etc. And I've noticed how quickly customers can lose their temper at people who don't speak English well. How English-speaking people sometimes get frustrated when asked to repeat - how they don't like it when they can't understand what's being said - or even how they dislike when immigrants talk to each other in their native language, and therefore can't be understood by English speakers.
And I know, it can be easy to ask why they here if they don't want to be? If they can't speak English? So often it can be hard for us to look past what we think, and try to see what the other point of view is. For example, most of our relatives are actually immigrants, even if we have to look way back in time. And if we ever went to another country we'd expect to be treated with respect, and no less, right?
So close your eyes for a second and imagine: you need to go to a foreign country and find work. Your parents are sharing those worried looks; your little brothers and sisters are starving. And so, despite the challenge of going to a totally new culture, a new place with a different language, you go because you need to - because it's the right thing to do. It can't be that bad, can it?
Then you arrive, and discover how hard it can really can be - to find a job with no English skills and to find a place to live without being cheated. Then, not only is it a huge change, but people treat you like you're beneath them, like your culture doesn't matter. People don't care how hard you're trying - it isn't good enough. And you want to go home where you're appreciated, you want to give up, but then you remember your family. You love them, and you're going to take care of them & send money to them no matter what it takes.
So it does make a difference how you look at it. Everyone is created equal, and always should recieve the respect they deserve. Just because someone is different doesn't mean they're stupid - it never means that. In fact, many are completely courageous to do what they've done. So no matter where someone comes from, what they believe, what they look like, each human is human, and deserves to be treated like one. In fact, trying to see someone else's point of view, makes us, in a way, more human.
So try closing your eyes and imagine the other side of the people in you own life, even if for just a second.
(Would love to hear your comments!)