Emily’s Story, Written by Maggie West
Emily is 12
My parents taught me that I should never judge people. Everyone is equal and everyone is a person.
My dad is the reason why I have a strong interest in these issues. He is a student and is studying Social Work. I love to go with him to talks and meetings about dealing with race and religion issues. It teaches me how to be open-minded and I feel that it makes a good impact on me.
It all started before I was born. My aunt told my mom that she was ruining my life. I am mixed. I’m Mexican and American. My aunt believed that I wouldn’t be accepted by my Mexican or my American sides. The only reason she came to see me after I was born was because I looked white; not mixed.
My parents are Muslim. My aunt doesn’t like that, because she is a Christian. She posted on Facebook:
“All I need to know about Islam and Muslims is the first five minutes of 9/11.”
As I’ve gotten older, I think she has changed her views. She doesn’t see me as anything other than a person. Even though we don’t talk as much, I hope to eventually have a conversation with her about these things. But if not, I still love her even if she made those bad decisions and choices. I will always love her; she is still my aunt.
My friends at school accept me. A lot of my friends are of mixed race.
When we talk about racial or religious issues at school, we like to educate each other instead of fighting each other about it. We learn that it’s better to learn the right things about each other instead of believing the wrong things.
When I reflect on certain issues, I like to think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because he wanted everyone to be treated as a human being regardless of their skin color. One thing I believe could help ease racial and religious tension is just everyone having a civilized meeting about issues going on around the world. I want them to be able to talk about everything without violence and hatred.
When I grow up I think I want to be an animator–drawing for video games. I think through my drawings and games I could set an example on being open about different cultures and ethnicities.
I want to teach people that they shouldn’t judge others. I want to show people it’s okay to be themselves.
This story originally appeared in Facing Racism in Muncie, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by R.A.C.E. Muncie in Muncie, Indiana.