By Shusuke Sugihara
The Summer Youth Leadership Program taught me many things this summer. We have learned about racism and stereotypes of Asian Americans through different speakers, all of whom are successful people. The speeches made me think about one of the biggest problems in our society: racism.
People believe that people are different because of race, which causes stereotypes. If you cannot fit the stereotype of your race, then you are an outlaw. Many people around me live with these stereotypes in mind, and they try to fit themselves into the mold. The question is how the mold was made and how does youth acknowledge the stereotypes even though many adults are trying to exterminate them.
Children learn stereotypes, including ones where cruelty is involved, from adults and they retain these stereotypes as they grow up. Parents tell their kids to stay away from homeless people because they are dangerous. They also tell their kids to avoid a particular neighborhood because it is seen as dangerous.
This is not completely their fault. Our parents’ parents acted the same way as our parents do and taught them racism. This belief gets passed on to the next generation, looping around our community like a carousel.
To stop the new generation from learning racism, adults need to stop acting negatively due to race. One solution to this global problem can be found by observing the animals that are closest to us, like dogs. Dogs don’t care about what kind of dog they are, whether chihuahua, beagle, or German shepherd. They interact with each other like they are all a part of the same family. People should also interact with each other like they are the same animal, because they actually are. ♦