I am a member of a large family. In my childhood I have been “haunted” by the idea that we were a large family in comparison with other families who had maximum two children, whether it came about members from the school group or members from the playground group. Children at that time were associating me to a person that is poor, does not have anything to eat or they were even underestimating my knowledge even though I was always healthy, I was capable to learn and I had a great chance to live in harmony alongside with my brothers and sisters. Even more, by the help of my sisters and brothers I learned how to read or write before going to the first grade at school for instance. This problem in the class was the result of the fact that I was part of a large family in comparison to them. I remember that one day they were surprised about the fact that I had a sandwich with salami inside, instead of a simple sandwich with jam and a bottle of tea that I was always carrying at school. I also remember that one day they made me feel ashamed about the fact that I was wearing a blouse that was identical to the one that my sister had a day before, even though we had two identical blouses and each one had her own blouse. There were many times when I felt discriminated by children around. Taking in count this story, we can analyze the behavior of the others and myself by the help of sociological means.
Therefore children started to create a stereotype of myself based on the fact that I was a part of a large family, therefore a different group from theirs. In their vision, a large family would mean that there was a need a lot of money in order to provide a large amount of food or to purchase different goods. They arrived to the conclusion that we were poor as a family and they felt more superior because they were able to have goods that I didn`t have. But these children were not able to see that in fact my parents were working hard and that we didn`t have luxury things but we had everything we needed in order to be a decent family. Once that they had a stereotype in their minds they have started to create prejudice in their opinions toward me and my family based on emotions. At the end their actions lead to discrimination as a result of the stereotype and the prejudice created. Therefore, according to sociological means, my classmates were acting on a general idea created, even though this idea was wrong and they didn`t have information from the inside of my family.
From the study created in “A class divided” children change their self esteem according to the group they make part of. For instance in the majority of the situations when a person feels discriminated, she or he has a low self esteem and lower capabilities to evolve within a group. This was also my case and I started to act accordingly. For instance I was ashamed to tell other people that I have a large family (even though today I`m proud of this aspect of my life.) My self esteem was low and I wasn`t able to compete for the first place in the class even though I could do it based on my knowledge and learning skills. I was feeling as a person that is set aside from others until the day I had the revelation that I could make a change in my life. In High school I started to take attitude and understand that having a large family is more a privilege than something to be ashamed of. I have started to defend my family from those who didn`t know about it and they were expressing their point of view. Soon by self esteem increased, I started to be a leader of the group and my hard work for learning brought results based on very good grades. From this story I understand now that when people see something different they are ready to have an opinion without knowing more details about the subject. But on the same time the discriminated people need to have the power to move on and to not let discrimination influence their lives.
Written by Molnar Crina