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Montclair ENWR 105 - Naïve to Prejudices

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David ManeiroNaïve to PrejudicesDavid ManeiroENWR 105BWDr. Vikash Singh Essay on prejudices10/2/17Naïve to PrejudicesWhen people ask me about my prejudices towards other races and ethnicities they are usually surprised to hear that I don’t have any. I pride myself in being a very open-minded person, and I attribute my openness to two main factors. First and fore most I am the son of an immigrant, and the grandson to immigrant grandparents. Having immigrant family members and seeing what they have accomplished in their lifetimes has taught me never to assume things about people based on where they are from, or where they look like they are from. Another factor to my open-mindedness is where I am from. Although I now live in Springfield, NJ, I am originally from Newark, NJ. More specifically the Ironbound, and growing up in the Ironbound I've seen the best and worst of all types of people. I have been in fights and robbed by white people, black people, and Spanish people, and I also have good friends that are white, black, and Spanish. So, I am wise enough to know that some people are just bad and that it is not something based on race or ethnicities. However not everyone one in this world shares myopen-mindedness, and I have almost become naïve to the fact that people have prejudices towards others.In today’s day and age the race that people have the most prejudices toward would mostlikely have to be people of Muslim decent. Snice 9/11 the Middle East has been the number oneenemy of the United States, and with more recent attacks all over Europe by ISIS the Middle East seems to be the number one enemy of the world. Although not all people from the Middle East are terrorist, I have heard the saying, not all Muslims are terrorist, but all terrorist are Muslim. Now although this statement is not true, due to groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS taking credit for most terrorist attacks since 2001 people have grown to fear and hate people from the Middle East and those of Muslim decent. And this is where my naïveté begins.As I said before I am a son to an immigrant, my father is originally from Spain and much of his family still lives there. Every summer I go to visit my family in Spain and of course I travel by plane, most years I travel with my parents but I have traveled alone a few times. One year I went by myself, and I had a large beard, and while I was walking through a check point in the Madrid airport when a secured guard pulled me aside to a different room. Where there was another security guard, I was told to take my book bag off and give it to the security guard to check. While I was getting my bag checked I didn’t say a word, I just let the security guards do what they needed to do. But when the security guard asked me where I was going I answered.When she heard my accent, she asked me where I was from, and after I told her where I was from. She told the other security guard to close my bag half way through the search. While walking to the gate I had just realized what I just went through. Due to my large beard these security guards thought I was Muslim so they pulled me over to the side and checked my bag. My entire life I didn’t know how real prejudices against other cultures were until I personally went through it. I understand that the security guards are just doing their jobs but in the years after this incident I have never traveled with a large beard and had never had a problem.From a young age, I never saw any first-hand experience of prejudices towards other culture, races or ethnicities. I was raised in the naïve sense that most of the world was like me and very open. For the most part I like to believe that the world is moving towards this, but I now realized that we are much further than I thought. To be pulled over because the security guards believe to be a race that I'm not was shocking and showed me that people still fear people just based on

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