Helen’s Story


Have you ever walked down the street and seen something that you just didn’t agree with? Or even witnessed someone being harassed or criticized for the person they are? I have witnessed both and it has been very disturbing and hurtful. People in this world are mean, hurtful, and just downright cruel. I will share with you a story about a girl who was bullied and made fun of just because of her culture and beliefs.

Helen was your regular teenager she liked all the social media platforms, loved all the music that was on the radio, there was nothing out of the ordinary with Helen at all. She was very intelligent and very driven when it came to her studies, and that is because of her parents. Her parents worked for a successful plumbing contractor Kansas City MO and were very strict since they came from Ethiopia before she was born. She grew up in a household where traditions and beliefs were very important. Education was most important to Helen’s parents because it was something that her parents had lack of when they lived in Ethiopia.

When Helen’s parents came to the United States they struggled in the beginning with little education, and adapting to a new country it was hard. They worked low wage jobs to support themselves over the years. Her mother was a receptionist for a solar energy plant, her dad worked as a tow truck dispatcher all for peanuts. They worked very hard at adjusting to this country and finding solid employment. Once they had Helen they did not want her to go through any of the things they went through. That is why they push her when it comes to her education. With Helen being a smart girl she was always being made fun of by some of her classmates. She paid no mind to it but it was starting to bother her a lot.

She was not only teased because of her smart’s, but also for being the only Ethiopian American in her class. She had a couple of friends, but for her parents friends were a distraction from her studies. Helen was overwhelmed by the pressure and the strict ways her parents had on her. Plus being targeted for being smart and Ethiopian was weighing down on her as well. She tried to talk to her parents about the issues that she was facing in school, but they just didn’t understand. They wanted her to focus on her studies and her religion that was all.

Helen leaned on her music through this troubling time of her life, and it helped her a lot. One day she was at school in the cafeteria eating her lunch which was Injera which is an Ethiopian tortilla made out of sourdough and soda water. She was eating with her fingers which is how she eats her food because it is a custom in Ethiopian culture. A classmate of hers came up to her and started calling her obscenities and making fun of how she was eating and what she was eating. Everyone was just laughing and joining in the verbal racial abuse Helen was enduring. Nobody stood up for her or said anything to the classmate that was doing this to her. Helen stood up from the table and started to walk away, the classmate spit on her and pushed her as she continued to walk away. She never said or did anything about this abuse.

Racial abuse happens every day and it will forever be an issue in this world. We can’t control certain aspects of life, but we can change the way we act towards many different cultures. Embrace the diversity, embrace the difference in the world.

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