Discovering Prejudice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A racist white man travels to Asia for a job he despises and learns the lesson of his life about prejudice

Submitted: July 07, 2011

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Submitted: July 07, 2011



A blinding lightning bolt abruptly struck the right engine with explosive power while intense rain and hail battered the plane. The plane was shaking violently and going off course, constantly changing the direction from right to left, up and down. Baggages were heavily thrown on the ground, and some on the passengers. People were yelling, screaming, and crying their hearts out. The plane was nosing downwards. Pilots were calling into the radio “Mayday! Mayday!” Then, out of nowhere, BOOM…

That’s how it all began, an event that would forever change my life, one that I will never forget and regret. It was an ordinary day. The streets were crowded. The airport was busy. People were fighting and yelling at each other. I felt invincible and untouchable. Nothing could hurt me. But on an ordinary day, with people going over the same routine, something extraordinary happened.

I was on my way home to see my wife and my 4 month old baby after a long business meeting in Asia. Making money was one of the many sacrifices a husband has to make. Doesn’t matter if he can’t stand the job or barely gets to see his family, it’s a necessity. I was in Asia, selling cars to a bunch of midget people with slanted and tiny eyes and listening to them go ‘Ching Chong, Ling Long, Ting Tong’ at each other. Why didn’t they speak English? Why did they have tiny eyes? And why did they eat rice? I really didn’t know.

So there I was, lying on the ground, unconscious. I opened my eyes to get a glimpse of what in the world had just happened, only to see hundreds of bodies around me with their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. I didn’t know if I was lucky to be one of the few survivors of this deadly plane crash, or just so goddamn unlucky for having to wait for my painful and brutal death from starvation. So I just laid there, on the muddy and slippery dirt, analyzing what just happened, and finally coming to terms with it. ‘Screw you, God’, I would often say. He probably hated me so badly he had to make me die on an island with random Asians I didn’t know.

Two long days passed on this tiny little island. I was an outcast among the other Asian survivors. I did not speak their language and I did not understand a word they said. I hated them. They were always looking at me, probably jealous of my big white body and gigantic eyes. One of the activities I did on the island was constantly swearing at those little Asians. Some of them talked back looking all confused, others shouted back with an angry tone of voice, as if they knew what I said.

It was all fun and games until oneday, an angry little Asian came up grumpy at me and tried to push me. With his lack of height and strength, he only managed to push my tummy. “Is that all you got?” I asked him while standing there. I was in complete hysterics, pointing and laughing at the grouchy little midget.

Until he kicked my legs with all his power, leaving me bending on my knees in front of him, then he punched me right in the face. “*#$*@#*#%(&^%$#,” he shouted at the top of his lungs and spat on me. I was on fire. My head was about to explode. I could not believe the little Asian had the guts to punch me, even though he knew based on my hatred alone, I could possibly kill him with my bare hands.

I stood up, ran at him, and tackled him with my arms wrapped around his body. I started punching him in the nose a couple of times, making his tiny little nose bleed severely. But just before I could swing my third punch, the other ten Asian survivors sprinted at me and broke the fight off. I did not give in easy.

I started punching everyone who tried to grab me. It took about five Asians to grab me, a strong superior white male. All I know is the break up was chaotic, even more chaotic than the original fight. There was blood everywhere, children and wives were crying, and the grumpy Asian still tried to swing punches at me while I was being held by his little friends.

The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground with my hands tied to a tree, little did I know that the other Asian was also tied to the same tree on the opposite side. “What name?” the guy who punched me asked with a strong Asian accent and a laughable grammatical error. Little did I know the other Asians had also tied him to the tree. But I was not in a mood for laughter. “Chris,” I answered. “Hello Chris, my name is Henry.”

We were throwing loads of questions at each other like old buddies. We talked about each other’s backgrounds and where we’re from. I learned his tradition and customs and he learned mine. We then went on to talk about sacrifices of being a father band husband, how we absolutely hated our jobs, and how we could not wait a second longer to see our wives and children.

I was surprised at how similar Henry and I are. We had a lot more in common that we thought. Except for one thing, skin color. Questions were crowding into my head. Questions that made me ponder the origin of my hatred against Asians, questions such as: Why do I hate Asians so much? What did they ever do to me? And it dawned on me. Prejudice.

Henry is just a man who happened to be born on the other side of the world, who was raised by different parents, and who was taught customs according to tradition and culture of where he is from. He too has needs, wants, fears, feelings, emotions, just like I do. And he doesn’t deserve to be treated any differently from anyone else in the world. After all, we are all human beings.

It seemed like hours and hours had gone by until a guy came up to the tree and untied us. Then, out of nowhere, palm trees were heavily swaying from this ridiculous amount of wind. I thought a storm was coming until I heard a voice from God. It was the voice of a helicopter coming to our rescue. And just like that, my experience on the deserted island was over. I shook Henry’s hands. I looked him right in his eyes as he looked in mine, I could feel a huge amount of mutual respect we have for each other that grew over the course of a couple­­­­­­­­ of hours.

When I got on the helicopter, I thought maybe God planned this all along. He wanted me to change the way I see the world, to see the world through his eyes, and to treat everyone equally as he does. I was no longer angry at God. For the first time in my life, I felt free.

This is a life changing event that defined and shaped me as a person. It taught me a valuable lesson in life. Do not judge people based on their appearance alone. You cannot ever know what a person is like until you actually talk to them. Do not prejudge people based on stereotypes. No matter if you’re rich or poor, black, white, or Asian, old or young, male or female, gay or straight; everyone deserves to be treated with the same amount of respect. Do not judge the book by its cover.

Henry and I remain close friends to this day.

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