A CONCLUSION OF DISILLUSION: PERCEPTION IS NOT REALITY
Have you ever gotten one of those art kits for Christmas or your birthday? The ones which consisted of markers, color pencils, water colors, oil pastels, etc.? Each utensil was different, not only in color, but in shape, consistency and size. Yet, each one was created for a specific purpose and when used together, could create a beautiful work of art. When I was little, these were one of my favorite gifts to receive. Now that I am older, when I look at the world and all the people in it I perceive each person as reflecting one of those art utensils in the grand masterpiece of life.
I am a born and raised Bay Area Native, my roots are that of hispanic origin, as my grandparents were from Mexico. I am what you would call a “Chicana” being that I am third generation, residing in Northern California. I recently relocated to New York City in pursuit of my dreams, and while on this adventure, I didn’t know I was in for a bit of a culture shock. It began when people would ask me, “What’s your ethnicity?“ I would respond, “Mexican”. The look on people’s faces was as if they had felt sorry for me, and I began to feel confused. Over time, I came to the realization that the majority of Latinos on the East Coast were either Puerto Rican or Dominican, it was very rare that I would come across another Mexican. I While going through feelings of being disregarded as the least of the bunch, it came to my mind that in society as a whole, we each face some sort of discrimination, on a daily basis. To paint a more vivid picture, I was also faced with being perceived as “Hollywood” when people would ask me where I had moved from and my response would be , “California”. I found myself not wanting to answer those two questions. One, so that I wouldn’t be looked down upon, and the other so that I wouldn’t be seen as me looking down upon the other. When I relocated to New York City I perceived it as the place where everyone wanted to be. People from all over the world would come to visit. I never would have imagined people from the Big Apple perceiving California as something greater. From this experience I gathered, whether it be our social background, our economic background or our race and ethnic background, perception seems to be everyone’s reality.
As I began to meditate in depth on the concept of, “the grass being greener on the other side”, I came to a conclusion: the source of this disillusion is the media filters we are gazing through. Much of the knowledge we gain about the world we live in is perceived through our telephone and computer screens; rather than through the eyes and minds of other people. Every place you visit is going to have struggle, every person you meet is going to have flaws. Not everything that is fed to us, whether it be through our mouth or our eyes, is nourishing.
As a society, let us not discriminate, let us not think we know what a certain culture is like, or even a certain place is like, due to information that was fed to us via internet or any other type of grapevine-telephone source. Let us ask questions, let us study and do our research whether through books or social relations. I believe the more we search, the more we are sure to discover; the grass is never greener on the other side, it is greener where you chose water it. It doesn’t matter where you go, or what social, economic or ethnic background you’re from it just matters what you do with where you’re at.
I believe if we took the time to truly get to know our neighbors, especially those who come from different culture, social class, economic background, and the like, we would gain a better understanding of the fact, that whether we are from “Hollywood”, New York City, or any other place in the world, we each are human and we each are seeking something more.
CALL TO ACTION:
My experience was only one minor example.
We have all faced some type of discrimination based on perception and lack of a socially conscious eye. Share your experiences and get your voice heard by submitting a poem, spoken word piece, art work or any other form of self expression regarding this topic to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on our website or to be selected to perform live at our next event!