amikellia asks: I attend a school. As I got there people started disliking me for no reason. One girl said to another person that I am an African and they are very ugly, I am an African but I don’t know why people dislike Africans. Some of them have to be forced by a teacher to talk to me or group up with me, and so on. Some of them don’t even like sitting down next to me. They make fun of me behind my back, call me names and laugh at me anytime I lose something! If I tell a teacher, it becomes even worse. I try to ignore them, but it is very hard. They even mock my accent because I am an African. I don’t like it at all. Please help me.
Hi amikellia –
In most ways, humans are a lot smarter than us dogs. Humans can invent and create automobiles, humans can do math, humans can write songs and symphonies and poems and novels… humans are just brilliant.
And then there are the areas where humans can be absolute idiots. Racism sticks out as maybe the biggest of these.
You say you don’t like the way you’re being treated? Well I’ll take you one further – I HATE it! What you’re living through is unbridled cruelty, to the point of real bullying. And it is SOOOOOOOO STUPID!
I don’t know where you live amikellia, but in my country, the United States, the humans have a really bizarre history of cruelty to people from Africa (and people whose ancestors came from there). Initially, as you probably know, lots of Americans used their superior technology to capture and enslave Africans, a disgusting practice that lasted for centuries. When that finally was becoming illegalized, it created a horribly bloody war that ripped the country to pieces. Then it was still a century before much was done to give the African-Americans equal rights. Today, people here of African descent have reached the heights of success in science, business, the arts, sports, and – as everyone knows – politics, as the president of our country is the son of a Kenyan. And yet, STILL, some people treat African-Americans (including the President!) as somehow less than others, all the time!
So do I have any suggestions for you? I have a lot, but you’ve already tried some of them. To talk to teachers, to try to ignore the awful treatment – these are things you did before you ever wrote me.
Some others are:
– When someone says something cruel to you, or you overhear one of these stupid comments being said behind your back, just turn to that person and calmly ask, “Can you imagine how you’d feel if someone said something like that about you?” And turn and walk away. Try not to let any anger show, because then they’d just respond to that. Instead let the words sit in their ears.
– Find an opportunity to give a report in school about your heritage. “Africa” is too big a subject. But if you give a report about the country you came from, or even the area, that expresses the pride and beauty and accomplishments of it, you might find that some of the other students actually start to find it interesting that you’re from somewhere exotic and exciting, instead of something negative.
– Become the best at your school at something, if you’re not already. Become the person they look up to in some regard. I don’t know what your strengths are, but I’m going to throw one idea out here: the speech of Africans is nothing less than gorgeous. What if you became the best public speaker in your school? What if you became the head of your student council, or leader of your class?
Now I can’t guarantee that accomplishing these will change the mindset of all the kids in your school. Any more than the accomplishments of Mr. Obama have kept morons from screaming for years that his birth certificate isn’t real, or that he hates white people. But I do think it will change at least some of them.
And my friend, that leads me to the most painful, but most serious, advice I have for you: Survive.
Racism is stupid and, therefore, it slowly dies. Things will change. Not nearly quickly enough, but they will. The only wrong thing you can do is anything that makes your life worse, or keeps you from being ready to receive what you deserve – from life, from others, and from that school. So outlast the idiocy. That’s what Mr. Obama did, that’s what Louis Armstrong did, that’s what Frederick Douglass did, that’s what Jackie Robinson did… and you can do the same.
If you’ve never heard it, I will refer you to one of the most famous and beautiful speeches ever given anywhere. It’s the “I Have a Dream” speech, by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Again, I don’t know where you live, and it is very focused on American history, but I think his words will still stir you and inspire you. It’s fifty years old, but his struggle is your struggle, and all of humanity’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs
But, before I end here, amikellia, I want you to know one other thing. I am very, very glad that you found me, and this website, and especially this Pack. Here, you’ll find, we’re all friends. The members of this group are from all over the world, from all races and religions. Many are from Africa. And every one of us will support you and cheer you in your efforts to achieve respect and kindness.
amikellia, I am a dog. I am not allowed in most businesses, I am forced by the law to be kept on a leash or locked up, and I was one day away from being executed, for no reason other than my species, before a human came along and rescued me. I know what it’s like to be despised for being what I am. But I also know what it’s like to be loved for what I am, and appreciated, and valued. And because of that, I can love and appreciate and value others.
So please, do what you can to handle the rampant stupidity of those other students. But use me, and us, too. Use our support. Because it will be your ability to keep your soul intact, and stay able to love and be loved, that truly will make your life worthwhile. No matter how much the power of wrong belief tries to crush you.
Be strong, be optimistic, and be wonderful. We are all behind you.
All my best,