My grandfather came here from Lebanon many years ago. My family has lived in Los Angeles for more than 70 years, but now and then I feel like a foreigner.
In my high school, people hang out in their groups. I don’t do that but still my best friends are from Lebanon and other countries near there.
One afternoon, I was putting some books in my locker when I heard some boys laughing. One boy said, “His English is so weird. I don’t know where he learned it. His name is Kamal, something out of the Arabian nights.
George started talking. I know him from the running team. He said, “Those people stick together, that’s for sure. I wonder why they came to this country, anyway?” I didn’t know how to get away without their seeing me. I stood still.
“My Dad said that all these immigrants are taking away good jobs from real Americans.”
“You joker,” said Charlie, “who is a real American? Only the Native American Indians can claim that.” Charlie and I are in the Math Club.
"Charlie, you know what I mean. The real Americans are people who look like you and me. We founded the United States of America. They’re different.”
“Yeah, John, and one thing different is they’re smarter than you are!” said Charlie. “Just because someone is different from you, does not make him bad. Just get over it.”
At that moment, someone walked by and said to me, “Hi, Franklin.” Then all those guys looked at me. They knew I had heard what they said. My grandfather named me Franklin after his favorite president. He wants me to be All American.
The next day, Charlie came up to me at Math Club. “Hey man,” he said, “I am sorry what those dumb guys said. We know there are no ‘real’ americans. We are all Americans. Forget about all that. Times are changing.”
I hope he is right.
A. What happened here? Can you summarize the problem? Has anything like this ever happened to you or someone you know. If so, tell your group about it.
B. Role Play
1. George, Friend: Create a dialog criticizing Kamal.
2. Franklin, Kamal: Create the dialog of Franklin talking to Kamal.
3. Charlie, George: They disagree about the immigrants.
4. Franklin, Charlie: They discuss the prejudice of some of the boys.
5. Franklin, his grandfather: They talk about group relationships.
1. Write a sequel to this; what happens at the school.
2. Write a letter to George about being kind to new people.
3. Write a summary of the story.