Monday, January 30, 2012

Deeply Cut

I was sitting on the bus after school minding my own business when this girl comes up and asks me why my hair is red. (For those of you that don't know my hair is red) this is how the conversation went:

"Why is your hair red?" Girl.
"Because I dyed it." Me.
"Are you sure? Or did god make it red that way? Or did your mom make it red for 'god'?" Girl

I can understand that she's young so I don't hold it against her in the slightest. After all how could she know I don't believe in a single god? She couldn't.

The real trouble came when a seventh grade girl got on the bus. (There were only three people on the bus aside from me.) She started questioning me about everything under the sun, even figured out that I'm a lesbian pretty quickly. Still not quite sure how that happened, but she was cool with it so it didn't matter. What she wasn't cool with was that I'm planning to go to Germany next year as an exchange student. Conversation went something like this:

"What are you gonna do when they rape you?" Her.
"They aren't going to. This is one of the safest programs, it's been around for years and all the host families go through background checks and interviews and things." Me.
She didn't like that answer as her voice grew louder, and harsher. "Yes they will. They're going to put you in a whore house." Her.

That totally threw me off, but I didn't show it. She continued on and on for about six city blocks, until she went on to say this, and I QUOTE:

"Why would you want to go to Germany they're a bunch of Hitlers?"

To that I could only stare at her appalled that she would say that. If she knew ANYTHING about German history, or history of WWII then she would know that only a small portion of Germany actually agreed with Hitler, the rest opposed him.

What really pissed me off though was that I'm mostly German, my family is German, most of my friends are German, and the German people are amazing people. I love Germans, the culture, and the language. That someone is so ignorant to the world around them DISGUSTS me to no end.

So I simply stared at her for a long few moments before saying, "I'm German. So is my family. Most of my friends live in Germany." The look on her face was priceless. Not because she was sorry, not because she felt bad for saying what she had, but because I was the one who heard it.

She has grown up thinking it's okay to generalize, a very large, group of people like that. She had no problem when I was a lesbian, which is a great thing trust me. No, her problem was when I was German. Because Apparently the fact that I'm German makes me Hitler. She insulted me more deeply than I've ever been insulted before in my life. She cut me so deeply that I will never be able to look her in the eye ever again.

My generation needs to learn that this is not okay. This is not acceptable behavior for ANYONE. Generalizing is bad, terrible. And insulting a group of people you know little about, is even worse. I'm so deeply horrified that she said that. At the time I wanted to stuff her in a box and lock it away deep down where no one would ever hear her speak again, that's how embarrassed I was.

You can say, 'oh it's just that she's young' or 'she just hadn't learned about that yet.' But when you really think about it on a grander scale, she DOES know that it's not okay to generalize people. She DOES know, that that is a blanket statement and is incredibly hurtful to those it effects. She does know that it was wrong, and I saw it written all over her face.

Please, please, please, teach your children, your friends, you cousins, siblings, family, EVERYONE, that generalizing is NOT okay and that we need to STAND UP and teach our children what is right and what is wrong.

Will you stand with me?


1 comment:

  1. Heck yes I will stand with you, as a teacher I'm embarrassed that some kids can go without learning these lessons, I'll keep fighting to build knowledge, and I'm so glad that you are so fearless and willing to do the same. Bravo.