What Made Me More Tolerant With People by MachElhadi Hassan, Saudi Arabia

What made me more tolerant with people? I am a very tolerant person, I don’t judge people, and I value the idea of freedom of religion. I respect and value all religions. Being bullied in school and watching Oprah Winfrey have been some of the major influences in my life that made me a more tolerant person. First of all, I was raised in Saudi Arabia. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 18 years, and to date I still have the Saudi residency permit. I had to leave Saudi after I finished high school because we, as foreigners, did not have the right to free education like Saudi people even though we were born and raised there and sang the Saudi national anthem in school every day. I was bullied almost all my life, but it started to intensify when I got into middle school. It happened almost every day; those who bullied me did not consider me human because I was different, that is I had African features such as thick hair, a wide nose, and full lips. I almost decided to leave school but had to fight through and just endure it. Having to deal with such things all my life made me always want to treat people the way I wanted to be treated and be tolerant to differences that we share. Secondly, one of the things that has contributed to me being a tolerant person is watching Oprah Winfrey. Growing up in Saudi, we could not watch American run shows on local television until a new channel was introduced when I was about the age of 13. This channel started to air the Oprah Winfrey Show, which was my favorite show growing up. I almost watched every single episode that aired, for example Oprah interviewed and made a lot of documentaries about the difficulties black people had to go through, and the people who were racist then decided they were wrong. This showed me that humans can change and can ultimately be good, which also helped me be more tolerant. Several reasons can influence a person to adopt a certain a view and/or behavior and for me, several factors have influenced me to respect all the different qualities that each person in this world has, such as my bullying experience and watching the Oprah show. I love all religions and I respect all human races, and I pray for peace for all countries battling for peace.

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