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Change in Perspective

In: English and Literature

Submitted By john2001
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CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE There are many ways that people are stereotyped such as belonging to certain race, nationality, and gender. Living in the world today you would think that people are Knowledgeable about certain issues and not stereotype others but the fact is that when one person or groups of people are stereotyped, that common perception never goes away unless people decide to change their implicit and explicit attitudes about that group. In today’s society, stereotype is now common than ever. I’d beg to differ that stereotype is based on the lack of education but I think that is based on people’s insecurities, ignorance and behavior patterns. It is easy to stereotype others based on their appearance, religion, and heritage. I was born and raised in Ghana, a country in Africa, where the entire population is majority blacks. Growing up in such culture I did not experience nor was I never a subject to stereotype. Even with people from different countries coming into Ghana to experience the culture, no one of them ever put me in a certain category. I would often ask myself if I was naive to realize what was happening around me but the truth of the matter is stereotype was not common in Ghana. All of this change when I moved to the United States of America for my seventh grade year. I can remember being nervous for my first day of middle school. As I got unto the bus, my main thoughts were would I make any friends and would I be able to comprehend what I’m taught. What I didn’t expect was the number of questions I would have to answer based on the presumptuous judgment made about me when I told my peers that I was from Ghana. The first thing a peer asks was that are you from Africa, referring to Africa as a country. They have preconceived notion that Africa is a country. I had to clarify that Ghana is a country and Africa is a continent. I wasn’t upset with the question but my peers thought I was offended. I responded by asking them if the lived in North America, and most of their responses were do I look Canadian to you. I told them if they felt offended by that, then I have the right to be offended because there are different countries in Africa, as there is in North America. I was able to avoid some questions throughout my lunch and other classes until the last class of the day. I felt like I was being interrogated in that class period. I was asked if I lived in a village and slept in a hut. They actually believed that the majority of people in Ghana lived in village. Their main reason was that, this was how African countries are portrayed in American commercials. I couldn’t help myself but laugh because I couldn’t believe how ignorant they were. I told them they don’t always have to agree with information given to them; they can always do their own research and make their own conclusion. The most annoying stereotype my peers had about me during that class period was that I hunted lions when I was in Ghana and used their skin as clothing. I told them that I have never gone hunting and I’m sure I would get hurt if I hunted loins. They thought wild animals just roamed about among the humans and did not believe me when I told them that the only wild animals I’ve seen were at the zoo. At that moment I was feeling upset and wanted to go home. Unfortunately for me, my teacher decided to join the conversation and voice her opinion. I usually refer to people who stereotype others as ignorant because they make judgment with lack of knowledge. This was not the case with my teacher. She asked me how many miles I walked to school each morning when I was in Ghana. I told her I didn’t walk to school; I took the bus each morning just like I did here. She was shocked because she actually believed that all African children had to walk to school, like it’s some type of tradition. I have to say that I was upset because I respect all of my authority figures and to have this type of opinion about me wasn’t fair, it shows me that education can go a long way. It was definitely an eventfully first day of school. I wasn’t sure how the next day would be and wasn’t looking forward to it. Luckily I was able to make some friends the next day that eased some of my stressed. Although I was a subject of some stereotype during the year, I had to endure a strong fortitude to prevail throughout the year.

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