I have seen a Facebook post circulating, asking “When did you first experience racism?” Due to #BlackoutTuesday I will be sharing my experience.
Here is my story.
Junior year prom. I had all the plans made and was ready — pictures at my parents’ house with my date/high school boyfriend, then pictures before dinner with a large group of friends, dinner with that same group of friends, prom, after party, then stay at a friend’s house with a large group. The night went perfectly until my mother received a call that I and my two black friends could not come over because there was no room for us to sleep. At the time, my mom made it seem like she just didn’t want me to spend the night out after the after-party. Of course I was mad, but eventually I brushed it off, went home, and because I still had my two best friends with me, I didn’t care. About 10 years later, my mom explained what actually happened. Now, of course, it was never said “Oh, they cannot sleep come over because they are black” but that definitely didn’t need to be said. Looking back, it makes me sick to my stomach that this happened. Now as a parent, I cannot imagine my child being singled out for the color of her beautiful melanated skin.
My mother went and graduated from both the same schools (primary and high school) I attended, so there were a handful of children that I went to school with whose parents grew up with my mom. We didn’t really have to “get to know” families in the schools, and I truly believe that decreased the racism we possibly would have received if we had been brand new to the area not knowing anyone. With that being said, I have gone to Private Catholic school with majority white people my entire life. I will mention, in middle school, I believe I was one of four black children in the entire school of about 800 children, give or take. And while I am thankful and extremely blessed to have this education and even hope to send my daughter to these schools — I want to use my words to help you realize the severity of the race issue in 2020. So this can change.
Please, to all of my white friends and former classmates, be willing to learn & be willing to listen. I’ve heard some people say, they just don’t know what to do or what to say. Let black people speak while READING, LISTENING, AND LEARNING. Teach your kids the same and challenge them to do better, love better, and support better. Our kids are the future, and we get to decide if we want our children to love one another as equals or if we want to continue to have these tough conversations, race issues, and injustices. Lastly, don’t leave it at “I don’t see color” because unless you are colorblind, I promise you do. I love my skin color and I want you to love it as well, along with all people who look like me.