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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.
 
On Racism  

This past week Iíve made a disturbing discovery.

Racism still exists!

Well, okay, Iíve always known it did, but the thought is usually accompanied with images of confederate flag-toting fanatics more than anything else. Plus, racism had always been just an abstract concept, a touchy subject for one so young, nothing I could come in contact with, being a child of the 21st century living in the most democratic nation in the world.

I was proved wrong.

It happened at work. I was busy assisting someone when I heard a sudden angry shout. It turned out that someoneís order was packed wrong, so I left what I was doing to apologize profusely to that customer. We were taught that no matter what happened or what they say, customers were always right. Apologize. Smile. Apologize. Smile.

ďThis whole order is wrong!Ē

ďIím so sorry. Let me fix it. It will take just a minute.Ē

ďWhy canít you Chinese people do anything right?Ē

ďSir, Iím so sorry.Ē

Smile.

Bam! There it was. The first time Iíve been the butt of a racist comment. Right then, at that moment, I felt Weak. Scared. Infuriated. Alone. All the buzz in lobby and the talk of people annihilated. I was spinning under a fatal blow.

Days later, I would analyze that exact moment over and over again but could only remember a creeping, sick, sick feeling.

I had never been treated like that before, defined solely and negatively by my race, taken in an insult without defending myself. He implied that Chinese people donít do things right, that I was a prime example of an inferior race.

First, I told myself to shrug it off, that in reality, racist bigots do exist, and I needed to accept the fact. But then that made me angrier. I can honestly say that all the people Iíve come in contact with, peers and adults alike, are genuinely tolerant. Like me, they believe that race alone does not define a person let alone justify bigotry.

No one should tolerate racism or just accept it. Prejudice is one of the most dangerous things of all. It blinds truth, destroys potential, puts a whole race of people under invisible chains.

True, itís out there. But we need to fight it. Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. Frederick Douglass. These were the individuals who werenít afraid to stand up and speak up. They are why views were changed, lives altered, equality created.

Iíve made a mistake. I should have talked back, defended myself and my beliefs. The issue was beyond the fact that he was a customer. It was beyond the fact that he was an older man. It was beyond the fact that his order was made wrong.

It was racism.

It was unjustified.

It needs to be stamped out.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  November 29, 2006