Produced by
Center for Folk and Community Art
I said, “Excuse me Ma’am, why are you
following me around the store? I’m just
buying food like everyone else.”
“No you’re not. You and your friends are
typical black kids who came into the
store to steal,” she answered.

A boy in my Civics class hated me because I
didn’t speak English and I was Haitian. His
insulting remarks were meant to affect me in
negative ways but they actually motivated me
to work harder in school to speak better

I have a friend who is homophobic because of his
religion. He said that being gay is a sin. I totally
disagree. I feel that God isn’t a judgmental person.

There was a boy who looked, acted and spoke
differently than me. He spoke an Arabian language.
At lunch, I ate pizza and orange juice. I couldn’t
figure out what food he ate. My friends and I didn’t
like him. He was from Iran. He was a Muslim. I’m
from Miami. My religion is Hinduism.
After a year when he learned English, I asked him
about himself. He is not that different than me and
my friends.


Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural
affairs, The Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts

With the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the
Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the Board of County
Commissioners, and in part The Children’s Trust

Masses-Valera, P.A.
June Dressler & David Polasky

With more than 150 different nationalities working and
living in Miami-Dade County, we have become
polarized along ethnic, religious, racial and social lines
causing clashes within our own cultures and prejudices
towards other groups. These feelings have been
passed along for generations.
PREJUDICE is a visual art project that addresses the
prejudices within the different cultures and how these
prejudices affect us as individuals, as well as the
greater community.
To broaden mindsets, we challenged participants to
write a story about an experience they had with
someone who doesn’t look or behave like them,
describe how they handled the situation (and the
reasons why), the outcome of their actions or reactions
and how that outcome made them feel. Then
participants, most with little or no prior exposure to the
art-making process, learned to trust their inner talents
and create drawings to illustrate their stories.
This project is designed to stimulate philosophical
dialogues about getting along with people having
different racial, religious, ethnic, socio-economic,
sexual orientation, and cultural backgrounds.

Sa’vannah, age 16
There was a girl in my class who was born in the Bahamas and then lived in Haiti before coming to
Miami. One day she was called on to read from a book we were all reading. She sounded very
different from everyone in the class and the kids in the class started to make remarks and say bad
things about her to their friends. Behind her back they mimicked her and made fun of the way she
dressed. She had her pants up to her stomach and her shirt tucked in and she wore shoes that we
never saw before. Because of the way she spoke and looked, we thought she was stupid and we
treated her as if she was dumb. One day the girl got mad and started to cry. She left the class and
the teacher went after her and brought her back. The teacher told everyone to leave the girl alone.
At our next class a lady came in and started talking about judging other people and that people
could die because of that. She said that as long as we don’t know what other people are going
through in their life we had no right to judge them. When the lady left, the students in the class
started talking about what the lady said and together we decided to talk to the girl and get to know
her. We found out that she wasn’t stupid. We even told her we were sorry to judge her.

Kencesse, age 15
I was born in Haiti and came to the United States when I was 13 years old. I thought learning a new
language would be difficult, but I learned English real fast. When I was placed in school I was put
into the 7th Grade although I was supposed to be in the 9th Grade.
I remember a boy in my Civics class who hated me because I didn’t speak English and I was
Haitian. His insulting remarks where meant to affect me in negative ways but it actually motivated
me to work harder in school to speak better English.
In the 8th grade I switched schools. Unfortunately so did this mean boy and on the first day of
school, he was on my bus. He started talking about me and spreading lies. That’s when I realized
that there might be something wrong with this boy because he doesn’t know me. I was only in the
7th grade for three months.
Everyday he harassed me. I knew if I answered him, he would harass me even more. The only
time he didn’t harass me was when he was suspended from school
I never said anything to the boy because if I did we would end up fighting. I never answered him
because I really didn’t care about him. However, I was upset that people might believe lies he was
spreading. I never told anyone how I felt. I controlled my anger because it would be dangerous for
the boy if I didn’t. I hope I never see him again in my lifetime.
Since we never spoke, I have no idea why he picked on me. He made whatever judgments he
made based on things that have nothing to do with me.

Bob Turner, age 17
The word prejudice means a lot to me especially when I am misjudged.
One day a group of friends and I went into Publix to do a little shopping. I’m just an AfricanAmerican, regular teenager who stopped off to buy something to eat. I noticed that I was being
followed and watched by this white woman. The first thing that went through my mind was, “Did I
do something wrong”. I tried not to think about it and went about my own business. Finally it got to
me and I approached her in a quiet respectful manner. I said, “Excuse me Ma’am, why are you
following me around the store? I’m just buying food like everyone else.”
“No you’re not. You and your friends are typical black kids who came into the store to steal,” she
I was furious and felt like I was being spoken down to. She didn’t know me and from the way she
spoke, she didn’t know many black teenagers. She was jumping to a conclusion based on her
prejudice and profiling me and my friends because of the color of our skin.

Sasha, age 14
When I first came to school I was alone. It was as if everyone was afraid to talk to me. They judged
me and stayed away.
Many people thought I have an attitude and I am rude because of the expressions I use. They didn’t
understand me and made their own rules for judging me.
As soon as I opened up to them and showed them that I am actually funny and that I am not shy,
their attitudes toward me changed. They treated me nicer and they were really cool girls.
I felt relieved when I finally fit in with the crowd. It took some time to be able to talk to everybody
and make friends. Once they stopped judging me for my cover they got to like me for who I am.

Selena Gomez, age 15
One day I was walking with my friend and we saw a lady walking with her two kids. She looked
very young and my friend said, “You see! She must have had those kids at a very young age.
That’s what black girls do, you know.”
We sat down on the same bench with the lady and overheard her conversation with her son. Her
son asked, “Where’s Daddy?” The women looked very sad and said, “In jail”. My friend whispered
in my ear, “He must be black because he is in jail.” I asked my friend to stop making those kinds of
remarks. “Not every black man goes to jail,” I said.

Toni-Ann, age 15,
While waiting on line with my aunt as she was about to vote, we stood behind a man who had
terrible body odor. As I got a whiff of these unpleasant odors I began to sneeze non-stop. I said out
loud that the man stank and walked away. His odors were also affecting my aunt. Using my aunt’s
carry along perfume I sprayed the air to cover the bad odors. I couldn’t understand how he let his
personal hygiene get so out of hand. I wondered why he didn’t use deodorant. He looked angry
and was cussing at the people in front of him because someone got ahead of him. He got on his
phone and I was afraid he was calling his people to come and blow up the place. I realized I was
being prejudiced against him without knowing anything about him. I was thinking that he was a
middle-Eastern man and could be one of Osama’s people all because he had bad hygiene and fits
the description of a terrorist.
I know that judging somebody badly and treating them rudely without knowing them is wrong
because as a 7th Day Adventist people have judged me and are rude to me when I hand out flyers.
They say we’re a cult and blame religion for the bad things that happen in the United States.

Shayla, age 14
I have this problem. I look at people and wonder if I am going to like them or not. I saw this girl
Francesca and I immediately came to the conclusion that I was not going to like her because:
-She was loud
-She talked too much
-She wanted to be my everyday friend
-She kept trying to get me to talk to her
Finally I talked to her and she turned out to be nice. She’s smart, likes to converse and has a good
sense of who she is.
As a result of getting to know her, I realize I have to stop the judgmental things I do.

Junie, age 14
One day my cousin and I went to the gas station. My cousin was getting a snack. While we were
in the store, the store manager followed us around. So I asked him why. He said, “No reason.” My
cousin said, “Then stop following us.”
The manager stopped for while, and then he started again. When we picked up a bag of chips, he
asked if we were going to pay for it. I immediately said “Yes”. My cousin said, “What do you think
we are? Thieves?”
The store manager didn’t say a word, he just stared. “Oh My Gosh! He thinks we’re thieves because
we’re black,” my cousin said loud enough for the manager to hear.
The manager said, “Buy the stuff and leave.” I said, “Okay, but I’m going to report this store and
close you down.” Then we left.
When we got home, we told our aunt. She called City Hall and made a complaint. My aunt told
everyone what happened and everyone we knew stopped going to that gas station store. A few
months later everything just went back to the way it was.
“That’s how the world is,” my cousin said.

Kelly, age 15
Don’t hate her because of her love of women
Is it really that much of a crime
I mean she won’t bite you
She probably doesn’t even like you.
You won’t turn gay by touching her
She’s only human
Just like you
And me too
She does have feelings you know.
Doesn’t really matter
Whether she likes girls or not
She may be thinking the same about you
How would you feel if you weren’t able to
Be with the person you love?

Pretty Marie, age 15
I remember when I first came to the United States and started school. Everyone looked at me
because I didn’t speak English. Students thought I was stupid and that hurt me so bad because I
knew I wasn’t stupid. They thought because I come from Haiti, “I’m nothing”. Every time I entered
the classroom they looked at me with a face I can’t explain. It was as if everyone in the class was
watching me. I kept asking myself if there was something about me that looks wrong. After a while
I spoke with my teacher and she had me sit next to her desk and gave me extra attention. I not only
passed my grades, I received a grade point average of 3.5 out of 4.
My teacher announced my grade to the class and everyone was quiet, they couldn’t believe it. They
were probably asking themselves, "How did she get a higher GPA than me?”
Eventually, some of the students began asking me for help with their class work. This made me
feel really good. My goal was to show them that it is not where you come from that determines
where you are going. Yes, I came from a poor country and yes, I do not have a lot of money! But,
I have something money can’t buy. It is my natural intelligence and I am so proud of it.

Hope2016, age 14
My stepfather doesn’t like gay people. He hasn’t really specified why he doesn’t like them but I’ve
heard him say it’s the way they dress. He doesn’t think that they should dress like the opposite sex.
“If you’re a man, dress like a man. If you’re a woman, dress like a woman,” he would say. My
stepfather is very prejudiced against gay people because he categorizes the few gay people he’s
seen dressed like a woman into one category and thinks all gay people dress like that.
I, on the other hand, believe that you should not judge a whole group of people based on the one
or two people you’ve seen and don’t even know. I honestly think that the way gay people dress
does not affect anyone, including my stepfather.

Ms. Unique, age 14
So many times,
I’m being judged
I’m being prejudiced against by others.
All prejudices need to stop before they go too far,
All I’m asking is…
Please don’t judge me,
And I won’t judge you.
Please don’t judge my looks
And I won’t judge your looks.
Every time I stand or sit by you
You walk away
All I need is a friend to stay.
They say my dress is not on point
They say my hair is always mussed up
They say this, they say that, but is it really a fact?
Absolutely not!
They need to stop being pre-judgmental and prejudicial when they see that I am different.
They have to stop judging me like a book cover without knowing my story.
They need to stop! They need to stop!
How do you think I feel?
This kind of behavior breaks my heart.
I don’t have prejudices towards them because I don’t know them.
It’s a shame because the way they behave shows me that they don’t know anything and they don’t
know me, so don’t judge me.
No matter what you do or say, it doesn’t matter because I will always be me.

Tanisha, age 15
I remember when I judged my older brother. I grew up with my grandparents and my brother grew
up with his father. Basically, we were separated and I didn’t know him. I pictured him to be a tall,
black, mean person; a person who was influenced by the wrong crowd. These thoughts were based
on what I heard about him. I remember when I was at his dad’s shop and I heard his dad telling my
mom how my brother was bad in school and that he was kicked out of public school and now goes
to a special opportunity school. His dad said that my brother wouldn’t cut his hair and he was
disrespectful towards his elders. So I judged my brother based on what I heard about him.
When I finally met him he was nice. Yes, he was everything people said, but it didn’t matter to me.
We were raised in different situations so we are different, but he is my brother and now that I know
him, I like him.

Christy, age 15
It was on a Saturday afternoon. My mom and I went to the bank. On the line was a big lady with
black and blond hair, wore a lot of jewelry and had gold grilles in her mouth. My mom did not like
the way she looked and was being very judgmental. She made fun of the lady’s hair and how it
didn’t look good on her. She ridiculed the jewelry the lady wore. In my head I thought my mother
was being very rude and judgmental, but laughed anyway.
After the bank we went to Publix. There, I saw a boy with raggedy clothes and assumed he was a
bum. I felt icky looking at him. I took the bread, paid for it and quickly left the store. As soon as I
got home I took a shower.
When I see someone that looks ridiculous in their clothes or their clothes are ugly and dirty I become
very judgmental in a negative way. I believe that if a person doesn’t dress as good as me, or better,
he or she is just plain ugly and I don’t want to be near them. I guess I’m prejudicial just like my
When I see someone that looks ridiculous in their clothes or they look ugly and dirty in the clothes
they wear I become very judgmental in a negative way. I believe that if a person doesn’t dress as
good as me, or better, he or she is just plain ugly. I guess I’m prejudicial just like my mother!

Adre, age 14
It happened a few times dealing with people who are a different race than me. I am black they are
white. Basically, I believe that people with a different skin color than mine are different than me.
For example, black people act a certain way depending on our surroundings. We act serious and
I’ve been around black Christian people my entire life. I’m not used to being with people who are
different. However, every once in a while I go on trips to places and I am with people who don’t
look or act like me. Not long ago, my friends and I went to a special school competition and we
were around a lot of white kids our age. It seemed to us as if they looked ridiculous in the clothes
they wore. My friends and I looked at them and decided they were strange. My friends and I got
the feeling that they looked at us as if we also were strange.
I didn’t realize until now that we all thought the other was strange. I had felt offended when I felt
they judged me behind my back. But now I know they probably felt the same way I did thinking I
judged them. Knowing this, I now know we all have the same feelings even if we are a different
race and live in different surroundings. But I can’t resist having the same reaction to them. I am
getting used to being with other kinds of people, but feeling the way I do is a habit and my opinion.
But it is not racism.

Love Didine, age 15
I remember when I first came to my school, I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t talk to anyone except
my teachers. One day, I went to the girls’ room and five girls who were in there started to stare at
I said, “Hi” and did my thing. As I was leaving the restroom, one of the girls called out that I was
obnoxious and belligerent. I didn’t know how to react or talk to her, so I just left. Afterwards, I felt
depressed and very low about myself. “She didn’t know my life. Why would she say something like
that?” I wondered.
During lunch time, one of the girls from the restroom sat down next to me and started a pleasant
conversation. We were just beginning to get to know each other when the girl who called me names
walked over and said to her, “Why are you talking to this trash? Don’t you see she looks like
I didn’t want to say anything to her and I didn’t want her to see me cry so I picked myself up and
walked back to the restroom as tears fell from my eyes. I washed my face and went to class.
After two months, the girl who was mean and prejudiced towards me came over and apologized
for jumping to conclusions about me because when I came from Haiti I was put behind a grade in
school. Her friends told her she was wrong about me and in class she got to see that I was
interesting and nice. I told her to forget about it, and that I would too. We’ve become best friends
since then.

Lay, age 14
When I moved to Miami from Brooklyn, NY, people did not like me because of the way I looked and
dressed. I was sad because they did not take the time to get to know me. They ignored me, isolated
me and labeled me “The Haitian Ghetto Girl”. I was hurt because they were judging me based on
my race, not who I am.
My goal was for them to change how they thought about me. It started in my math class when I
helped a group of students with their class work. They appreciated it and invited me to eat lunch
with them. Then they started saying “hi” to me when they saw me in the hallway. I felt the change
happening gradually and I was glad. They started talking to me more and sent me a friend request
on Facebook. From there, I have become close friends with most of them. However, a few of them
still have not approached me and I don’t know why they dislike me.
At the end of the day I stayed with the group of friends I had. They were there for me throughout.
They were there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. I was glad I opened up to them and learned
the meaning of true friends.
Being on the receiving end of prejudice, I know how important it is to not judge people by their
appearance, because if you do, you will lose out on getting to know who they are deep down inside
and what they have to bring to the table. If my friends didn’t take the time to get to know me we
wouldn’t have memories to share today.

T.M., age 14
There was a time in my school that I saw a boy who looked, acted and spoke differently than me.
He was also different than my friends. I wondered how he was going to communicate with others.
He didn’t really understand our language very well. He spoke an Arabian language. First it felt
awkward with him around. I was used to everybody being similar to me. At lunch, I ate pizza and
orange juice. I couldn’t figure out what food he ate. It was different than ours. My friends and I didn’t
like him. His culture and religion was much different than ours. He was from Iran. He was a Muslim.
I’m from Miami. My religion is Hinduism.
After a year the boy learned how to speak English. I asked him questions about himself and where
he was from. Based on his answers, I learned that he is not that different than me and my friends
after all. He is just from a different culture and religion. After getting to know him, I never jumped to
conclusions again about people who are different. Now we are friends.

Blessed 4 Life, age 15
It was a Sunday morning at Church. I was teaching Sunday School to the little 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 year
olds. There were two entrances into the classroom. The rule was that you enter and exit through
one door only. That was the door in the front of the classroom. Suddenly there was a knock on the
back door. It was Mr. G. When I saw him I motioned for him to come to the front door. He just stood
there until an assistant of mine went to the back and opened the back door for him. When he came
into the room, I told him to come in the front door next time. He went ballistic on me. He didn’t just
yell, he yelled at me with hatred in his eyes. He made me feel so bad.
After he left I told the assistant to take over the class and I went into the office, sat on the floor and
cried. “Who does he think he is yelling at me? Does he think he is better than me? Yes, he may be
a grown man, but I should be treated with respect. You treat people the way you want to be treated,
right?” I thought.
After Sunday School I went home, thought about what happened and cried some more. I finally
decided that when I went back to the Service, I would confront him. He told me that he didn’t mean
to hurt my feelings.
If there is a special name for people who are prejudiced towards young people and automatically
judge a younger person as beneath them, then this man was that.
Now that I am stronger and a little older, I know that I should not always take everything to heart
because when I do, I hurt myself.

Justin-Bieber, age 15
Once on a trip to the mall with my mom we saw a very fat lady who was hanging out of her clothes
and had a tattoo on her visible big gut.
When my mom saw her she began to say mean, personal things about the lady and her
appearance. My mom didn’t know the lady, but she kept going on and on.
I told my mom that she shouldn’t talk mean about people. She stopped for a moment but as soon
as we got into our car, she started again. Her ranting continued from focusing on the lady to
focusing on the lady’s background and making general statements that were negative about
everyone who looked like this lady.
She didn’t even realize that she was prejudiced against a whole group of people who she doesn’t
even know. She was being mean based on things she learned when she was young.

Athena, age 16
One day, as I was walking to a spot where I usually meet my friends, I noticed this boy smiling and
staring at me. I can’t explain it but there was something creepy about him. I told my friends he’s a
creep and probably an awful person. Every time I saw him I avoided him. But that didn’t work. I
called him a flunky. Based on how he acted I thought he was stupid. He had a girlfriend but he still
eyed me with creepiness. I really thought something was wrong with him. His pants would sag and
I assumed he was a thug. I was afraid of him. He was Hispanic, and I thought that was the way
Hispanic boys are. But maybe that was just how HE was!

Lisa, age 16
Pre-judging people because of how that person looks or the way that person dresses can hurt that
person’s feelings and that person may think you are right and develop self-hatred. People have
called me ugly and other mean names that hurt my feelings. I am very shy and quiet, but peopled
have called me slow. I began having negative thoughts about myself. I hated how I looked. There
were times I would compare myself to other girls and start by saying how beautiful they are and
why wasn’t I born beautiful.
Even if I am not attractive, popular or outspoken, I still don’t think that people should be prejudiced
against me and make fun of me. I should be treated based on how I act not how I dress or look.
When ever I pass a group of people I always assume that they are speaking badly about me and
making fun of me.
To overcome this problem, I stopped caring about what people say about me. My mother has
always told me that I’m beautiful which helps me feel better. Most important, I am a good person
and I have a good personality.

Ja’miya, age 15
When I was in middle school there was a girl in my class who had marks on her skin. She would
use makeup to cover the marks but her skin still had a different texture and people noticed. Some
kids would ask her questions, like if she had these marks all over her body, and other nosy things
to make her feel uncomfortable. I felt sorry for the girl and didn’t say anything.
One day I decided to be nice and kind to her to see what her problem was and find out if she was
going through a situation at home. I thought maybe the marks were bruises. The girl said she was
okay. She just had bad skin and she didn’t know what to do about it. I didn’t really get to know her
because she transferred to another school, but the time I spoke to her she seemed cool.

Sexy Lola, age 15
I have a cousin, who happens to have a big mole on her neck. As she grew up, people constantly
made her feel bad about it. In school, people would say, “ewww” and walk away from her as if they
would catch it or something. People were prejudiced against her because she had a mole. She
would cry. She tried to cover it with a scarf. Sometimes she felt so bad about having this mole that
she wrapped the scarf very tight around her neck until she could barely breathe.
Her mom tried to comfort her but her words didn’t help. My cousin tried to cut off the mole with a
One day my cousin came to my house and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong. When
she told me about her mole and that people think she is sick because of it, I told her that I also have
a mole and that people who think there is anything wrong with me because of it are “#%&!” My
cousin laughed about it for the first time.

Petit-Maitre, age 15

When I was in third grade I arrived in the U.S. from Haiti. I did not know how to speak English. I did
not have any friends. One month later I met J. He was as lonely as I was. No one wanted to sit
near him, talk to him or walk with him because he was Haitian. People said that all Haitians have
AIDS. That made me cry and I did not want to come to school anymore. I felt bad about myself and
my friend J. Neither of us has AIDS but because some people from Haiti did, the people here
thought we did, too. That’s prejudice!

Twerk, age 15
I was sitting in my 8th grade class, minding my own business, listening to my music. My teacher
announced that there was a new girl in the class. When I looked up I saw a white girl with long
black hair wearing all black including black makeup. I didn’t want to talk to her because she looked
Goth, mean and very scary. When she would sit down next to me I would move away, all because
she was always wearing black.
My teacher coupled us up to do a project together. I didn’t want to work with her. I believe that
people who are Goth worship Satan. My teacher told me if I didn’t work with her I would get an F
grade. I didn’t want an F so I sat down and had a conversation with the girl.
She said, “Hi, you never talk to me. My name is Kathrine”.
I replied, “Your name doesn’t sound like a Goth name.”
“My name? I’m not Goth!” she said.
I began to laugh and then apologized for thinking she was Goth and a Satan worshipper. As we
continued to work together, we got to know each other better and have become BFF.
Another time, when I was in the park playing jump rope with my friends a little white girl dressed
like a Muslim asked if she could play too. I said no. “Didn’t your people blow up the twin towers?
How do I know that you won’t burn my house down?” I asked her.
She turned away and sat down in the nearby bleachers. Afterwards I felt bad. My best friend, who
saw me talking to the young Muslim girl said that she knew her and that she is a really nice girl.
Again I prejudged someone because of the way they looked.

Nirva, age 15
When I was in the 7th grade, my friends would always tell me about another girl who looks just like
me. When I saw her, I didn’t see the resemblance. Every time I would see her in school, I would
stare at her and she interpreted that as a bad look and stared back at me with the same intensity.
She was in some of my classes and one day we sat next to each other. During that class, my cousin
who was also in the class walked up to both of us and said, “You know you both look alike.” We
stopped and stared at each other once again but this time we were both smiling because we both
realized that everyone was right. We do look alike. I also realized that she was not trying to provoke
me with her stares anymore than I was trying to provoke her.
Ever since then we claimed each other as sisters. We have become good friends and are
inseparable. When she stared at me, and I thought her stares were unfriendly, I was ready to dislike
her because where I live staring like that is the wrong thing to do unless you want to fight. I’m glad
I didn’t jump to a preconceived notion because then we would have ended up being enemies.

Sheba, age 14
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”
This saying has contributed to one of the most important life lessons I have learned so far. It was
my first year in middle school. I felt like a big fish taken out of a small pond and being put into a
big pond full of even bigger fish. Everyone had their own posse. Some of the people seemed really
nice and some seemed really mean.
One person in particular caught my eye. Her name was Tracy. She had lots of piercings and called
herself DangerT. She was in the same grade as me but I wasn’t really willing to meet her. The first
time we actually spoke, she asked me to take a picture of her and her friends. We began a
conversation which led to a strong friendship.
I recognized that because of all her piercings she looked like a violent person to be avoided. She
was really the opposite. We began to trust each other and would share our problems and solutions
to problems. She is a friend. If I only knew this at the beginning of the year I would never have
avoided her. I learned that before you pass any judgment on anyone, get to know them better. Life
isn’t about pre judging people based on stereotypical profiles. I don’t know if I can lose all my
prejudices but if I can find something good in everyone and just enjoy their company it will help me
think twice before I make future pre-judgments.

Dimpleface, age 14
Judging somebody isn’t a good thing. I’ve judged many people by their looks, as if I was a fashion
police. Every time I saw AA, I judged her because of the way she dressed and the group she hung
out with. They were always getting into fights. I avoided AA because of that and also because she
was dirty, and so were her clothes and shoes. I was prejudiced against her and didn’t want people
to see me with her because they might assume I did the same things.
One day I spoke to AA and told her she could do better with her appearance and her friends. In
response, she told me about her problems at home. I felt bad because I realized she was doing the
best she could with what she had.

Lala, age 15
I have a friend who is homophobic. He doesn’t like gay people because of his religion. He said that
being gay is a sin. He was taught that God made man and woman, not man and man or woman
and woman. I totally disagree. I feel that God isn’t a judgmental person. From what I was taught,
God is a loving person that loves everyone for who they are with all their flaws. Anytime we go out
and my homophobic friend sees a gay person he gets mad. He starts talking out loud saying
negative things about gays. Sometimes he’s dead serious and sometimes he is just playing with
their head.
I hate when he does that. I told him how I feel, many, many times. He finally got it and realized that
gay people aren’t really different than straight people.
One day me and a group of friends were hanging out when one of our group said she was gay.
One of our group is very homophobic and on many occasions he has said very mean things about
I waited to see what would happen next. Nothing. I asked my friend later why he didn’t say anything
and he replied that he realized that this is still the same person and she is just like us. I liked her
before I knew she was gay and nothing will change.

Jack LaFleur, age 18
I just moved from Africa to America. My mother is French and my father is a descendent of African
Zulu warriors.
My first class on my first day in high school was science. I walked into the room and everyone else
was white. The way they looked at me was not friendly. It seemed like a look of disgust. I thought
it was because of the way I dressed. I had on my father’s kimono shirt. It was very colorful and
beautiful. But the people in the classroom were thinking different.
One day, when I was in class minding my own business, reading a book, I overheard a group of
people saying that they don’t like African people because of the way they smell. When I heard this
I was amazed and couldn’t believe it. Not all Africans smell bad. There are some like me that smell
really good.

Brandon, age 15
I remember when I took a plane to New York for a vacation. A man who looked like he was from
Pakistan was boarding. Everyone was looking at him weirdly. Personally, I was scared. I thought
about 9/11 the entire plane ride. Everyone kept looking at him like he was going to do something
dangerous. He went to sleep and people finally stopped looking at him. I was still scared because
I couldn’t be too sure.
Because of the way he dressed and where he was from, I judged him. Everyone was prejudiced
towards him because of 9/11 and where he was from.
I learned that you just can’t jump to conclusions because of where someone is from, how they dress
or what their religion is. I’m guilty of this from time to time and when I realize it I try to stop judging
people before I get to know them.

Tatiana, age 16
It was a time when two white boys went missing. The young boys’ mother was black and their father
was white. They were separated. The mother who had custody of the boys dated other men. The
neighbors were always saying something negative about the boys and their mother such as, “The
boys are white and she’s black. They should be brought up by their own kind.
One white neighbor even approached their mother and said, “You are black and those boys are
white. You should let them be raised by me. I am a proud white woman.” She didn’t know that the
mother had once been married to their father who was white.
One afternoon the mother went to pick up her sons at school, but when she got there the teacher
told her that their aunt came and got them. Their mother called her sister on her cell. “Hey sis, did
you pick up my kids from school?” “No” her sister said.
Without saying another word, the mother called the father of her two sons to ask him if his sister
picked up the boys. He said no.
Their mother went home and called the police. She filed a missing persons report. When she
described the boys as being white the police looked at her funny, so she explained that their father
was white. As soon as the police left, the mother heard her neighbor scream “all’s clear” and she
saw another neighbor sneak out with her two sons. The neighbor was taking the kids to her car.
When their mother saw her children with the neighbor she jumped onto the car. “Why do you have
my children?” she screamed. “Because you are not fit to raise them,” the neighbor replied. The
mother ran into her house and got a gun. Then she called her ex-husband and the police. The
police told the mother to just forget about it and take her boys inside her house. The mother shouted
at the police to arrest the neighbor for kidnapping. The neighbor shouted, “We were doing the kids
a favor. Face it. All black women are bad mothers. “That’s enough,” the father said. She is a good
mother to my two boys. You better stay away from her and my sons,” he said. The police agreed.

Samantha, age 16
I was walking my best friend to the bus stop in front of the school when I saw this freshman with a
group of other girls. They were talking outlandishly loud disturbing everyone around them.
When I saw the way the other people were looking at these girls I was
afraid that they might think that I was with them and that all girls my
age are loud, and reckless. My friend agrees with me. Her mother
thinks a lot like my mom. I was taught that there is a time and place for
this kind of behavior and I know that this was neither the time nor the
From my past experience of knowing girls like that, I automatically
believe that “loud” females are uneducated or have had a very limited education. I don’t like people
like that and I try to stay away from anyone who acts that way. There is no other reason for
inappropriate behavior. They are not fun to be with because you never know when they will find

Monkey Winkey Face, age 17
When I was younger I would visit my cousin and his mother. My aunt would always talk bad about
African Americans. She would say that they are dirty or they stink. She would also say they are all
criminals and bad people. My best friend is black. He is a very nice person and doesn’t have bad
hygiene. I don’t feel right with my aunt but I don’t know how to reply or react to her racist comments
because she is family. So I always keep my mouth shut. Where she lives everyone is Hispanic.
One time we went to the grocery store and waiting in line in front
of my aunt was a black lady. My aunt started mumbling bad
words in Spanish about her. During the car ride back home she
told me and my cousins not to ever marry a black woman and
not to hang around with black people.
As I got older I started knowing not to listen to her. She was a
hateful racist. I asked my cousin if he believed what his mother
told him about black people. He didn’t answer.


A Telling Stories Through Visuals
Outreach Project
Produced by
Center for Folk and Community Art

CFCA is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization whose
mission is to use writing & visual art as tools of
intervention, prevention and education to address
community issues and improve people’s lives.