2013-2014 Essay Contest Honorable Mention: Jacob Diaz

Jacob Diaz, 18

2013-2014 Live Deliberately Essay Contest Honorable Mention, 18-21 Age Group
Mundelein High School
Mundelein, Illinois

"Don't Judge the Kid; Judge the Stereotype"

It was June 18 and four year old I just couldn’t comprehend why other families were celebrating. I ask my mother “What’s so special about today?” It seemed as if I’d just swore at my mother because the look she gave back a was one of clear disappointment.  “Today is Father’s Day” she managed to whisper in a cool voice. That was the first time I’d ever realized that I was fatherless.

I soon learned that the reason why I was fatherless was because of a seventeen year old, who thought that a gun could give him all the power in the world. My mother was alone in this new world with an infant. The feeling of helplessness took over her and soon depression consumed her. Looking for advice she called back home to Mexico. She spoke with everyone in the family and they responded with; “Come back to Mexico, now all he’ll be good at is selling drugs.” “He won’t respect you and soon become a gangbanger.” “His grades aren’t going to get him anywhere.” “He won’t try in school without the discipline of a father.”  It seemed as everyone labeled me as failure even before I could speak.  I was just another one of those statistics that stated a fatherless Latino has no future.

Growing up I had never felt as if I was a statistic. No one ever told me that fatherless kids don’t tend to go far in life, so I lived my life unlike the other fatherless kids. I filled my life with smiles, friendships, and love and left out the bitterness that was bestowed upon me. At a young age I feel like I understood Thoreau's quote, “Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.” I was making the best of my life even if society with against me. A majority of society viewed me as a menace just because of all the stereotypes. What they weren’t paying attention to was the details in my life. The love I received, the curiosity I had, and the strength to make my life worth living the right way. What society overlooked was the determination from my mother.  My mother always wanted the best for me, therefore I adopted that mindset. My grade point average and ACT are much higher than the stereotype. I have never been arrested. I have never committed a crime.

The difference I make in society is the fact I break the stereotypes placed on fatherless Latinos.  I am one of those outliers. I live to prove society wrong. I refuse to be just another one of those victims of being a fatherless Mexican, I don’t want to be labeled as a stereotype, I want to be the one that stands out. Therefore the only similarity between me and those stereotypes is the fact I am a fatherless Latino.  

 

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