Imagine the Stories

Have you ever felt misunderstood… and then judged for it?

Most of us have had this happen to us. But a great many people in the world experience regular, systemic prejudice of all kinds, and it is easy for them to come to the false belief that they have in fact been understood perfectly well—and that is why they are being mistreated. Whether it’s for the color of their skin, their language, their economic status, or some other aspect of their identity, many oppressed and marginalized people must fight a herculean, uphill battle against people’s perceptions if they want to be understood and treated as equals.

One such person is Norman King.

We encourage you to take a moment to watch this brief, branded-content version of Norman’s powerful, heartwarming story.

Norman is an Aeta, part of an indigenous people who lived scattered across remote areas on the island of Luzon, Philippines. In this story, Mr. King becomes the first Aeta to ever graduate from the Philippines’ premier state university. The Aeta have a long history in the Philippines, and in fact are thought to have been the very first people to have occupied the region. But like many indigenous people, they have endured prejudice and oppression throughout their history as they’ve engaged with more powerful people groups.

What could possibly help the Aeta be more understood?

What could diminish the degree of prejudice they still endure today?

Well, how do you feel, having watched Norman King’s story? Does it help you understand what it feels like to be judged and disregarded based on your socioeconomic status?

The standard, received narrative—even today—looks down on indigenous people as somehow “less” than the rest. This video opens our eyes, both to our own prejudices as well as to the experiences of our brothers and sisters around the world as they face these kinds of discrimination.

This is the gift that stories can give us.

The best stories allow us to slip inside other people's’ lives. They give us a window into another’s world that allows us to empathize—to build compassion and even love for people who are not exactly like ourselves. In this case, funding from a soap company has allowed a multinational collaboration of artists to open a window on the world and experience of a people group most of us had never heard of before we saw that video. And while it is wonderful that stories such as this can and do exist, how much more rich would our world be if everyone—from dominant-culture film professionals to the Aeta living on remote mountain sides in the Philippines—had access to the education that would allow them to tell their own, powerful stories in their very own words?

What if it wasn’t just the exceptionally courageous few who, like Norman King, were able to struggle their way from marginalization to a chance at engagement with the culture at large?

Just imagine what a rich, beautiful world that would be.

Imagine the stories.