"Accepting Your Image As a Minority" by Jareth Antona

What do I value most in myself?

Growing up, I never thought I would be able to properly identify myself within the “real world. This is the case with most minority teenagers growing up during high school. Throughout high school and middle school, I dabbled countless times through different cliques just to see where and how I would fit in. It was a lot harder for me personally because I was, and still am, an introvert. I noticed at a very young age that I did not look like my fellow Caucasian peers. For a good while, I was fine with staying alone and doing activities by myself. I would go to school, study hard, and go home. I never really expected or craved social attention. It was only until middle school that I realized how many bonds I was missing out on. At this moment, I decided to find my place within the middle school social jungle. Although I was young at the time, I knew how to think on my feet. I knew I looked different compared to my fellow peers. Rather than detesting my unique image, I slowly began to embrace it. I didnt care how squinty my eyes looked compared to people or how dark my skin was. It was the first step that helped launch my acceptance as a minority.

It was not until college that I felt at home with my appearance. It was astonishing to see that many other like-minded Asian Americans had a journey similar to mine and that we all have our own stories of growing up. I noticed people either embraced it, like myself, or hated their own image. The latter is what, I believe, is destroying the reputation of minorities. Through confidence, I see that we as minorities are able to speak out against negative stereotypes and ideals. Thats the message I want to send with my story. Embrace the way you look. For the first time in American history, I am seeing so many young minds speak out against negative stereotypes that have haunted minorities for ages. This generation finally realizes how intelligent, gifted, and beautiful we really are.