I wrote this story almost a decade ago. With all of the discussions and commentary that I’ve gotten lately, I thought it would be a great time to just present you with a little personal story. I hope you enjoy it.
I was 16 before I truly learned that being black wasn’t a conscious decision one could make, that it wasn’t about a way of life, but that it is a part of who you are no matter what else you do. There were only 5 other black children in my grade school, although race was never an issue. At least not at school. Of course there were those times when my race was most definitely an issue, times when I would walk into a store and the clerk would stare me down as I looked through the aisles at the toys and candy for sale. Yes, I had had times where a clerk would accuse me of trying to steal, for no other reason than because I was black. One of my best friends in grade school was told I was not allowed to come over to her house, or she to mine, because I was black. My grandparents had next door neighbours who used the word nigger rather frequently. But I always thought they were only a few ignorant people still stuck in the 1800s (more…)