What are your most common thoughts and feelings when you encounter people who are different from yourself?
The first thought that comes to my mind when I encounter someone different from myself is, “What are they?” I want to know where they are from. I am more of an observer, so I will not speak my mind at first but just wonder who they are. I might feel anxious and nervous at first encounter with someone who is different from me.
I remember when I first encountered someone who was mentally challenged; I did not know what to think but to observe from the side. I have never seen anyone in person that was mentally challenged except from what I have seen on television. I was very nervous, and I wondered “It is true that they are crazy and loud?” and “Are they out of control?” I did not want to get to close to them but be far from anyone that was mentally challenged. I was young then, but as I got older, I started to realize that yes, they are different but I must not only look at who they are on the outside but the inside. We all are different, have our challenges and weaknesses, and are not perfect at all but that should not stop me from getting to know someone no matter if they are mentally challenged or anyone of any form or shape.
Before I was sixteen years old, I never met anyone that was a Muslim. At the age of sixteen, I got my first job at a grocery store. I was shocked to have seen Muslims in the work place. My first thought when I encounter someone who was a Muslim, is “What do they believe in?” I never knew what Muslims believed in about Christ Jesus. I wondered why they believe that women should be covered head to toe. I wanted to know more about their culture. Again, I am more of an observer and very curious. I am not a person that will bluntly speak the first thing that comes to my mind. I know for myself that I can think very sinful things, but I must watch what I say because I know the tongue is very powerful. Well, back at my job, soon enough I started to have conversation a young lady that was a Muslim. She was so nice and I could tell that she loved who she was as a Muslim. And my curiosity about her and any other Muslim would not change who they are and what they believe.