Commentary

Don’t Judge Me

The other day, I was sitting at lunch with a few of my friends. One said, “I hate how, if you think of it, like 75 percent of the kids at this school come from Massachusetts or the New York tri-state area. It’s so boring.”

Personally, I try as often as possible not to be judgmental. I, born and raised on the Upper East Side after all, don’t find this an easy task.

My whole life I have been surrounded by criticism, whether it be to my face or whispers behind my back.

I have just had to deal with it. The presumptuous mothers of New York City gossiped about my family, pretended to be friends with my mother and even allowed their kids to mock me about how many floors my apartment building had. Growing up in this environment, I abhor this judgmental attitude.

I go out of my way to give everyone the fair chance they deserve. Now, while my friend’s previous comment may have some truth (although the percentage is certainly not 75), it’s a very poor description of the students here.

People don’t have the right to judge others based on where they’re from.

Yet I’ve heard many proclamations similar to my friend’s.

Essentially, this statement implies that everyone from Massachusetts and the tri-state area is the same.

It seems that people hear a few words about you and assume they know your life story.

For example, when some of my classmates heard I was “Kennedy Edmonds from the Upper East Side,” they immediately assumed that I was a spoiled, obnoxious WASP who didn’t deserve to go to Phillips Academy as much as everyone else. I know this because my friends told me

Whenever I ask someone from Massachusetts where they live, they almost always look as if I just asked them how their dog died.

People need to look beyond the basics.

I refuse to be characterized as “Kennedy from the Upper East Side”. There is so much more to me than that.

My father is born and raised in Australia, my mother is half-Malaysian half-Australian and grew up in Australia, and my maternal grandfather is half-Malaysian half-Chinese, so don’t tell me where I’m from is boring! And that’s just looking at my background.

I’m sick of kids doing what I used to do at the beginning of the year: hearing the words “I’m a day student” and immediately assuming that the poor child who just made that utterance lives a miserably dull lifestyle.

There is so much more to people than where they’re from.

Sometimes no one sees that. In fact, recently I asked one of my peers in my history class where he was from, and you know how he responded? He looked down to the floor and muttered, “I’m a day student.”

He seemed so ashamed of where he was from and just assumed that we boarders think all the different towns day students come from are the same.

He failed to mention, as I later found out, that his family has roots that extend all the way back to Turkey.

Ultimately, you should never deem someone as boring solely based on where they are from.

Diversity is everywhere, and you need not be from some small foreign country or state to represent it. People should not only be proud of where they were born and raised, but also proud of their heritage.

Now, when you finish reading this article, and you see the little caption beneath it saying something like “Kennedy Edmonds is a Junior from New York City, New York,” I dare you to look beyond it.

Kennedy Edmonds is a Junior from New York, New York.

kedmonds@andover.edu