Kick me out, I’m an immigrant too

Johanna Poppel

Recently my father got engaged to an African-American woman.

I reacted like any other daughter whose dad was about to marry another woman that wasn’t her own mother.

At first, she noticed my hostility towards her the wrong way. She asked me, “Does it bother you that your father is in a biracial relationship?” I was in shock, and I was speechless. My dad quickly interjected and claimed racism is a thing of the past. Especially being German, he claims that Germans are very aware and have learned from the history of the Holocaust and see the foolishness of racial discrimination and the negative consequences it has on society.

You don’t have to be German to disregard racial differences. Maybe you just have to be young and have a fresh take on the world. Take, for example, one of the new additions to my family: my three-year-old niece. She was sitting in the room with my family. She only knew my brother for a few days, so she couldn’t remember his name.

She referred to my brother as the “light-skinned boy.” My brother laughed and asked my step-mom why she didn’t just call him “white.”

She told him that to her, skin color is just like different colored crayons, just different shades. All the crayons are the same to her, just how every person should be the same to her.

More than anything I would love the rest of the world to see people like my German father or my little three-year-old African-American niece. Unfortunately not everybody can be so civil and open-minded.

In the 2012 political drama film “Game Change,” which depicts the events based on the 2008 United States presidential election campaign, a few members of a republican crowd were shouting phrases against Barack Obama; “He is Arab, he is not American, he is Muslim…”, I know these things weren’t only said in the movie, since it was inspired by real events. I was so angered by this.

I know if the president elected had a slightly lighter skin tone, people wouldn’t question his citizenship and there wouldn’t be outright discrimination against an authoritative figure. Isn’t the United States known as the melting pot of cultures? Everybody has the same right to be here, no matter the skin color.

This brings me to my next point, the immigration legislative act in Arizona that would allow police officers to attempt to determine an individual’s immigration status when there is suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. This sounds a lot like racial profiling, as well as a direct target toward people that appear to be Hispanic.

Immigrants come in all different shades. Take, for example, my immediate family that came to America from Germany; we are immigrants, too.

My mother is a resident alien, but I doubt a police officer would stop her solely on the color of her skin to check her immigration status.

She could easily fall under the category of an illegal immigrant if she didn’t renew her green card.

It seems unfair that somebody with darker skin is more liable to have their immigration status questioned.

Since my parents are immigrants, why don’t we experience any negative stereotypes or hateful remarks like Hispanic or black families?

I would like future generations to avoid prejudging people and developing hate toward a certain race or skin color. We should focus on our personality and skills that set us apart and make us who we are. Instead of having our cultures set us apart, it should bring us together and allow us to learn from each other. Meanwhile, I will sit back and enjoy my beautiful bicultural family and learn to love who they truly are.

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