Prejudice writing! Wednesday 6th July 2016.
Close your eyes pretend you’re an immigrant. You’re from Iran and someone comes up to you and says “Do you have a bomb in your lunch box?” An angry feeling rises into the sky. You spin around and your heart lunges against your chest. You walk out of the classroom where dozens of children are chattering in a language you don't fully understand. With sweaty hands you clutch your lunch box, sitting on the cold, damp concrete feeling isolated. People's eyes are riveted to you. They whisper and snigger with their friends. You're still wondering, why nobody's sitting with you.
New Zealand has a hidden problem. Many migrants don't feel welcome here. 1 in 10 people feel like they aren't treated fairly. 55% of these people mostly feel discriminated by skin colour, race, ethnicity, or nationality. This is prejudice.
Prejudice is when you give someone a label without getting to know them. If you actually get to know them, they might not be as bad as you think. Look at what is actually inside them. For example, when I was little I got judged by my name that made me feel really bad. It just poisons you if you prejudge someone. It will make them feel like they also need to prejudge someone just because you did it to them. Most people feel stink if you prejudge people ,yet we all do it. But we’re ashamed to say it.We don't control it, we just do it. We get influenced by social media and other people around us. What can we do to help it stop?
There are lots of ways that immigrants, and other people, can be made to feel welcome. When you see someone that might be lonely, isolated or excluded you can go and say hello and or smile at them and be kind or include them. If they are new, go and say welcome or talk to them, or you can even ask where they're from. Treat them like everyone else and offer them some help to make them feel more comfortable in New Zealand. The effect it has on the other person is that they might feel more welcome, included and safe. This may also make them feel more confident to talk to others.
There are heaps of prejudice people in New Zealand and that can make immigrants feel alienated or unwelcome. Don't be one of those people. The things that makes people feel unwelcome is people frowning, staring, laughing and teasing, whispering, and much more. You can do these things from close up and from a distance, but mostly from close up. Don't just look at them like they're a ugly alien. I'm not giving all the credit to immigrants - I'm also saying that immigrants need to do something about it. They need to go and stand up for what they believe in and say “hey we need to stop this this is racism”, but it starts with us.
Albert Einstein once said “People do not destroy the world because of what they do, people destroy the world by what they watch, and don't do anything about.” Our actions can make an impact on the world. When the world is silent one voice speaks up so it is important that if you see someone getting prejudged, we all speak up.