We Are All Human

Written by Lara Antoine

 

 

 

 

 

3 men walk into a bar; A Russian, an American, and a Mexican. They all order a beer and sit down to drink. The Russian drinks his beer first then throws it out the window. The bartender asked him “why did he throw out his beer?” The Russian said, “he had a lot of those in his country.” The Mexican drinks his beer and throws it out the window too. The bartender asked again, “why did you throw it out the window?”. The Mexican said he had a lot of those in his country. The American grabs the Mexican and throws him out the window. The bartender asked the same question again. The American said “I have a lot of THOSE in my country!  

I have one simple question. Why do we consider this a joke?

What is so wrong with our society that this is funny?

These two questions are something my classmate Mary and I discussed after the terror attack in New York, lower Manhattan on the 31st of October 2017. I can’t stop thinking about our conversation.

Mary is 18 years old, and a proud black young woman who grew up in Barbados. I`m 20 years old, and a white Caucasian European girl who grew up in Germany. Mary and I study together at the New York Film Academy and became very close friends in the shortest amount of time. We are like day and night, cats and dogs, and yet we understand and respect each other.

The attacks were right next to our school, and we still had class when it happened. Once it hit the news our phones went crazy and our teacher gave us some time to inform our parents that we are fine.

I remember all students being nervous and in shock. No one really knew what to say. The next information we got was that the police shot the terrorist which was a relieve for all of us. All of the sudden Mary said,“do you think they would have shot him if he would have been white?“

I have to be honest guys. I saw black in that moment and snapped. I defended the polices decision and said that it wouldn’t matter if he was black, or white, or pink. He was a monster and he deserved to be shot. I did not intend to be offensive. I was just angry. Angry that something like that had happened again. I probably came across as really rude and apologized straight away to Mary, because I could see how affected she was by all of this. She started to explain to me that in America it is sadly a fact that you have to live a life in fear as a black person. You can’t walk down the street with a hoodie if your skin color is black. People will be suspicious of you. It is more likely to get shot because you get accused of being a terrorist, a murderer, or robber.

That wasn’t new information for me, but I never experienced it because that’s not how we handle things in Germany. I realized in this moment how bad and judgmental this society deals with minorities.

Black people have fought too hard for their rights to be treated like that. You can be a bad person with any skin color, I think we all agree on that.

Right after enlightening me about the politics in the US, she started telling this joke and said something really valid. ‚Why does that has to be a joke?“ ”Why can’t we all start realizing that we are human?“ ”Our environment shapes us, not the color of our skin. No one is flawless.“

And she is right. This joke isn’t funny. It is sad. It shows that we as a society still have a long way to go.

Mary? You are an incredibly person, and probably one of the most talented acting students I have ever met.

 

 

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