Illness of the Mind
by Kimberly Ventura
I believe there is an illness that affects the mind: racism. Many people, especially in the white community, feel the need to express this belief in an upsetting way. Ways such as hate speech and vandalism. This does not just include the white community, as people of any race can be negative and judgemental towards another race.
It was a sunny Saturday morning when I decided to go shopping with my mom at the Spotsylvania Towne Center. There I witnessed something I never thought could happen around me. Yes, it is often seen in the news, yet i’ts not something people expect to see. Seeing it in action changed my perspective on people drastically. I witnessed racism for the very first time. It was not directed to anybody I knew, but that didn’t matter to me.
I walked into a restroom while my mother waited outside for me. When I first walked in, there was a custodian who was roughly in her fifties to sixties cleaning the restroom. I paid no mind because in my mind, she was just doing her job. As I headed to the sink to wash my hands, a white woman wearing an orange blouse matched with black pants walked into the bathroom. I was just finishing up when I heard words and phrases I will never forget.
The white lady began speaking to the custodian in a disrespectful tone. She began saying that this custodian was not doing her job correctly, that she was not supposed to be there, and how it was a miracle to her how someone who looks like her could hold down a job. Listening to her, I truthfully could not stay quiet any longer. The manner in which this lady treated the custodian was so sickening to me that I told the white lady what she needed to hear.
I told the white lady she was being extremely rude and that she needed to leave immediately. Believe me when I say, I was ready to pop out my camera to begin recording her, but the situation didn’t escelate to that. When I told her to leave, she looked at me up and down, from my shoes to my hair, and walked out. I know this act of racism was not directed at me, yet I couldn’t help but feel this heat inside of me.
The death of George Floyd spiked major controversy all over the country with the police and how they tend to handle situations with different races. The bigger picture in that entire situation was racism whether you agree or not. I personally hope that one day, this disease will no longer exist. I hope that nobody will look at the color of your skin, listen to your accent, or pay attention to the shape of your eyes to distinguish where you fall on someones good and bad chart.
Not everyone is foreign to America. Millions of people emigrate to the United States for a new beginning every single day, seeking a better life not only for themselves but, for their loved ones, and they should be allowed to. There should not be a constant worry that someone tells you, you don’t belong here. There should not be a single race emphasizing that they are the best in all categories.
Everyone in this country has a place. Everyone in this world matters no matter what anyone else might think of it. If it were you, would you want to be treated unequally because of your race?
Racism is not a new concept. We have seen it all over the United States and, we have been finally noticing it more. Society now calls people out on it and this is especially shown in the last year or two during Covid-19. People need to think to themselves, in my opinion, would they personally be okay if this were to happen to them or someone they love.
(Read all the pieces in This I Believe; featured image by Tim Pierce, used under CC license)
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