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OPINION: ‘Being a minority does not make anyone less’

In light of this week’s latest event, I am taking time to reflect on my feelings. I am asking myself over and over what does it mean to be a minority in the U.S. and at Belmont University.

Hi, I am Celida Salcedo and yes, I am a minority. I am also American.

With elections coming up hate speech has been thrown around for the past few months. Living in Northern Mississippi has not made anything easier. I constantly ignore the hateful posts all over social media from people that were once neighbors. I want people to know that yes, opinions can be rooted in hate.

Being a minority does not make anyone less.

Fun fact: the majority is a minority. According to U.S News and World Report, the U.S. Census Bureau in 2014 recorded more than 20 million children under 5 years old living in the U.S., and 50.2 percent of them were minorities.

Is it not funny? We may look different and some of us might even sound different, but it does not make us any less American than the person sitting next to you in class.

I want people to understand this concept. People come here illegally. Not to sell drugs or take jobs but to provide for families. The jobs taken are usually the jobs no one wants to do. It is downright disrespectful to yell at someone and say, “Go back to your country!”

I have definitely experienced that and while at the time the comment upset me, I came to a realization: I do not feel bad about my roots. I feel worse for the people believing they own a country because of a skin color.

In the United States, nearly everyone is an immigrant. Everyone except Native Americans have– at one point or another– come to this country from somewhere else. And, if I remember history class correctly, we have run the native culture out with diseases, threats and disrespectful caricatures including the naming of sports teams like the Redskins.

I stand 100 percent with Belmont’s decision of not taking the hate speech lightly. No one should feel threatened because of their race. People of color are standing up for who they are. What concerns them might not concern the next person, but it does not mean it is not an important topic.

Be proud of who you are. Stand up for who you are. Please remember that disagreeing is OK.

Expressing an opinion directly from hate, however, is not.

In the end, to me, being a minority in the U.S. is being a part of something bigger. At Belmont it means even though I look different than the typical student, I get the same treatment. Now it only means I know they stand for a bigger cause.

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