Many events have marked this year in the United States. The most recent of such events include Eric Garner being choked to death by a police officer, the shooting and protests in Ferguson and the negative reaction from many U.S. citizens towards President Obama’s immigration reform. The last two mentioned events, however, will certainly be inscribed in the history textbooks.
It might sound a bit ignorant coming from me, but, as a citizen of a third world country, I had never thought that incidents and events of such magnitude could ever occur to a developed nation like the United States even though I know all countries face different levels of problems. I expected financial crises, urban pollution, and crime to be the leading socioeconomic issues in the United States. I had never thought that hatred, racism, inequality and ignorance would be part of list of leading problem in the country.
I would like to clarify that I am nor writing this column as a way to denigrate the United States, but rather to express my concern on the specific issues occurring in this nation. Other countries around the world talk about the grandeur of the United States, yet the circumstances here demonstrate the opposite.
Many atrocious things have occurred in the last couple of months, but people around this area seem to not bat an eye at all. News media bombard us with many negative things occurring in this nation, and I only hear a few students and elders talk about it. Is it because there is too much media flowing into our minds that we cannot process adequately the present circumstances or is it because we simply prefer to ignore what ruins our ‘perfect world’?
I have been reading the news to remain informed about what is occurring in this country since the first day I arrived to the United States. And on top of that I also read the comments that the public post as a response to the news articles. I was shocked and disgusted by the amount of hatred that people had toward specific groups of people. Certainly, such comments were not the ones I expected coming from the citizens of the first world.
The comments that shocked me the most were the ones that I read regarding the immigration reform. As an immigrant and foreigner, I felt hurt to read the amount of hatred that exists regarding the Hispanic population. They were accused of stealing the American jobs and of corrupting the entire American style of living. Furthermore, many people condemned the Hispanics with words that I would not be able to repeat. I know that many of those people who wrote horrendous comments probably do not know Christ, but how about the few that know Christ? Is there no empathy, compassion, and understanding anymore in the hearts of some Christians and non-Christians?
I have learned over the four years of residency here in the United States that being different is not easy. If you differ in race, origin, thought, and habits from the majority, life will be a bit hard. Although a few will understand who you are and where you come from, many others might probably attack you.
I wonder what posture Christians should have concerning these issues. Should we, Christians, avoid talking and taking some sort of action regarding the events that occur in this country? Are we going to let racism and ignorance infest heart of the American population? Should we continue hating the President’s decisions and the immigrants that yearn for having a taste of the American dream? Are we ever going to attempt to understand those who are different from us?