Yellow roses remind me of my grandmother. She grew up in Texas. I was young when her memory was lost to Alzheimer’s , however not too young that she left an impression on me. One day a heated discussion took place about race and color in our home. I had never seen my grandma discuss prejudice beliefs before. At approximately 12 years old, I was disappointed. I had friends that were African-American, Polynesian, Hawaiian, and more. It hurt to hear the belief that skin color made a difference in who a person was.
As I have been traveling, I have been meeting some of the most incredible people from across the globe. I have been taught Genshai, to never treat another in a manner they feel small, and this has really been put to the test in recent travels.
I have watched airplane passengers stereotyped in flight boarding lines, airport restaurants filled with snickers and comments, and people singled out by TSA security. All of this, has made me think a lot about my beliefs, my values, and how my parents raised me.
I was taught that we are all created equal. Each one of us having a purpose. Race, skin color, nationality, all not to be a barrier in friendships, relationships, and courteousness. As I have overheard judgements during my travels, it reminds me of how I have been judged in the past and how it made me feel.
As I sit in the Chicago airport today, I watch all of the international travelers headed to all corners of the earth. As fellow passengers and global citizens, we have a responsibility to respect each other. Assumption of beliefs and culture can quite possibly be one of the worst things we can do. They say never judge a book by its cover, I say never judge a wine by its label.
Society has put labels on religion, race, and regions of the world. Media influencing our belief systems of terror, fear, hatred, illness, and more. All human race, color, and gender have more in common than differences. Our differences are assets that all humanity has learned and benefited from. If we were all the same, life would be boring.
My grandmother was a beautiful soul, however somewhere in her childhood she was taught that skin color made a difference in the makeup of someone’s heart. Sadly, it became a belief of hers.
Discriminating others because of their country, region, or type of skin is hurtful. We are all human and connected in some fashion in this world and we all have a purpose.
There is deception and corruption all over the world. What the media and even text books portray is not always truth, and the Internet is full of misleading information. However one persons actions does not reflect an entire nations, or vice versa. Our labels and judgements come from friends or family that have been taught or heard something about something. It’s as if we are all playing a game of telephone, and by the time the label or judgement makes its way to your ears, it is even wilder than you or I could imagine.
Ego has taken over. Conflict runs the world. It rules the negative media images that flash in our minds daily, feeding the judgement in our minds.
I know how it feels to be judged. To be looked at in a way that makes you feel exposed to the world and vulnerable. To be angry and hurt and sad all at the same time. I also know how it feels to hear my own grandmother discussing her prejudices. It all hurts, and I am grateful my parents raised me with the belief that a persons heart is what truly matters.
We are all people with feelings. Each country has suffered great loss and victory in the history of the globe, and labels were branded long ago.
From birth, we are raised with what our parents know, or what their parents knew. Today, we have more access to information to better understand and learn for ourselves the truth. The power struggle between nations and media is about ego and followership. We did not choose our race, religion, or country. Any of us could have been born anywhere, to different parents, or under any circumstance. Finding pureness in looking past the colors of the world will only better humanity and our children’s future.
There is not an overnight remedy to ending the labels we have all placed on others. What I know is everyone I come in contact with has a heartbeat and feelings. The next time you stereotype or judge someone in line at the grocery store, in a city, or DisneyWorld, think about how that would make you feel if you were them.
Someone may not look or act the way you want them to, and that is ok. That person may or may not be doing the best with the knowledge they have been given, but if you choose to label, you have lessened yourself as an individual.
My mother called her own mother (my grandmother) out for stereotyping based on race. To me that day at twelve years old I learned a valuable lesson that I have revisited this past month. Race, religion, skin color, nationality does not make a difference. We are all citizens of this globe, with a responsibility. What if we raised our children to be global citizens, filling them with love rather than hate? Planet earth does not care about your race, gender or nationality, so why do we label these things?
When I look at a yellow rose, I see its beauty. I see the depth of colors making up one rose petal. I see how it opens to the world in a beautiful blossom with flaws and thorns. I also see my grandmother and her flaws. None of us are perfect, but if we could see more beauty as citizens of the globe, perhaps we could have a little more unity.
Will you choose to see the beauty in the rose?