(© by Stefano Spadoni)
NOTE: I wrote this statement in 2000, and I published it in my book "Vado a vivere a New York" in 2007. 13 years ago.
I was born an Italian, but it could have happened to me had I been born Chinese, an Afghan, a Russian, a Palestinian, an American, a Congolese, an Iraqi, or an Argentinean.
I was born a Caucasian, but it could have happened to me had I been born African American, Asian, Polynesian, Hispanic, Japanese, Arab, or someone of mixed ethnicity.
When I was a child, I was baptized a Catholic, but it could have happened to me had I been born and raised as a Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Evangelic, Atheist, Shintoist or Animist.
I was born a straight male, but it could have happened to me had I been born a straight woman, a gay, an hermaphrodite, a lesbian, an eunuch or else.
I was born with two legs and two arms, but it could have happened to me had I been born without one or all of my limbs. I can walk and run but I could have been destined to a wheelchair as well.
I was born with good sight, but it could have happened to me had I been born blind. I can hear, but I could have been deaf.
I did not choose anything that I was born with, so I have no merits or shame for it, this goes for every other human being.
Indeed, like every other human being, I have the power to make choices and the right to judge if what was taught to me was right. As a consequence, I have the right to refute anything taught to me, if deemed incongruous to who I am and how I feel.
Indeed, I feel proud to belong to any nation in the world where you can vote freely, and where you are not incarcerated because of your opinions.
I feel to belong to the “race” of whoever is fighting for justice, whatever the color of his/her skin.
I deeply respect every religion that is respectful of others, because it could be the faith that I choose. In the same way, I deeply respect any form of sexuality that is respectful of others, because it could be my sexuality.
And if my birth brother became a criminal, he would no longer be my brother. The police officer chasing him would become my brother, because capturing a criminal makes this world a better one.
That's why I think racism is the greatest aberration. I look with sadness at people who say that they are proud of characteristics they are born with. I think you can be proud only of what you choose, and what you achieve.
So, I look with suspicion at whoever feels closer to people who share the same characteristics they are born with, or those who feel an inherent obligation toward this common heritage.
I would never fight a war to defend a land just because it happened to be where I was born. I would only fight with the inhabitants of a land that has the values for which I choose to defend. I choose, first and foremost, the freedom to be what I want to be.