My first encounter with racism was on the playground in first grade. There was this new kid in my class who everyone seemed to like.  He actually wasnt new he was pulled out of 2nd grade for the 2nd time and placed back in first, so he was a couple of year older than the rest of us. One day during recess a whole group of students  were playing tag with him, mostly girls who were flirting with him, which is kind of ridiculous because we were only six years old.  Anyways I didn’t have any friends I was also new. I was the only little black girl in the class and was tired of playing alone. I decided that I would play with these kids that seemed to have lots of fun together. So I jumped in the game and ran to the person that was “it”waving my hand at them as to say, try to catch me, laughing, then running away. After a little while I noticed more people started to get tagged and no one was even acknowledging me, no one noticed me. So I ran up to the new kid and I was like “hey how come no one’s tagging me or chasing me?”   This kid turned around to look at me and said “why would you think anyone would want to touch your dirty black skin? Eww,” he shivered like the thought of touching me would make him sick.  I had never been so confused, so hurt, and so shocked in all of my 6 years of life.  He ran away and I stood there holding out my arm and looking at my very black skin. I then ran away to crawl underneath the slides while I cried and I cried because I didn’t understand why anyone would think I was dirty. It was the first time that I noticed I was different from the rest of my class and also that different was supposed to be gross.   Before then I was the bubbly girl who lived in a world of rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies.  According to me we were all supposed to be friends and treat others the way you wanted to be treated.  After this incident I knew not everyone thought that way.  I became distant and resorted to the corner of my class everyday.  Of course my family noticed a change in me, my mom tried to talk to my teacher about it who said that she chose to ignore racism therefor didn’t see any reason to acknowledge the incident.  Yeah.  My mom then tried to get more adults involved, all of whom seemed unintrrsted. So, she eventually decided transfer me to a new a school, because this school was not worth the effort. Little did I know that these incidents would happen many more times to come, and some cases worse than others. I think the most important thing I have learned growing up is that I can’t care about other people’s opinions about me.  I would become crazy if I actually cared about every person in my life that said they didn’t like me or  did not want to be my friend. I believe it is much more useful to exert my energy onto people who care about me, to surround myself around positive people. I have learned that I have a choice as to whom I can keep in my company. I do not need negative people in my life,  I won’t allow it. I have gone back to being that bubbly and energetic person who lives in the world have rainbows and butterflies. Because it’s a lot more fun that way, and life is too short not to.

Advertisements