I am writing to address an issue I believe many of the incoming students of KSU should be educated about. As Americans, we often seem to berate and ignore students who are from other countries because to us they are “just international students” and not worth our time.
Currently, I am engaged to an international student and have had to watch him get belittled, “baby-talked” to and disrespected because our American society seems to feel that him being culturally different makes him unintelligent. This boy can carry a normal discussion on his own with nothing more than a slight accent, operate efficiently in classes and on the job, take a drink at a bar and experience all the human emotions that we as Americans have. Often times I have seen his co-workers surprised to see him at Starbucks, Wendy’s or a bar because they seem to feel he is not capable of assimilating to American society.
Still, I get disgusted every time I watch somebody treat him as a lesser being just because he was not born here. American values are supposed to be about acceptance and the embracement of many nationalities that compose our so-called “melting pot.”
Every single student who is here was born somewhere. It may have been in Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, India, Russia or Turkey. Our countries can claim land, but in the name of humanity, nobody has any right to claim the Earth. The world belongs to any being that exists. It is an honor and privilege to be given the opportunity to live, not a right. Just because a skin color is darker or an accent exists does not mean that the person behind that is worth any less than anyone in our lives. Hurt, love, trust and pain are international emotions.
Living in America with all the preset prejudices that the land of the free has already set is even harder. It’s time we open our eyes and look past simple barriers. Humanity is at stake here, humanity we, as Americans, have the power and money to protect.
The new school year is about to start. It is very likely in the Kent State campus that promotes diversity any one who is a student will take a class, work or meet somebody who is international. Instead of setting an ignorant opinion of them, take the chance to see the person you are speaking to. Who knows, maybe you will be able to find a best friend or a fellow human to commiserate all your worries with. Don’t let nationalities get in the way; we were all born together, and are all fighting in the race we call life. Just give it a chance.
Amy Rogers, former Kent State student, Kent, Ohio
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