My 1st Experience With Racism
I live in the state of Washington, but i am a down home Southern boy at heart. My home state of Georgia (The Peach State as affectionately known) was where i spent the first 19 years of my young life. Atlanta is where most of the celebrities, powerful politicians, and any person of cultural importance comes to spend their time, but i resided in a little town called Milledgeville; which amazingly used to be the state capital before the mid 1800’s. Milledgeville is known as a town where retirees go to live out their last years of life, industrial but not chaotic like a major city, and a melting pot of people from different ethnicities, class, and way of life.
For the most part before i moved to the West Coast, i can say i did not experience the full force of prejudice or racism. I had friends who were Caucasian, Asian, Latino, and other spectrums of ethic roots. For me, racism was somebody coming up to your face and calling you a “Nigger”, “Jigaboo”, “Sambo”, “Tar Baby” and having a group of guys who covered themselves in white hoods and white sheets burning crosses in the front yards of African American households. I felt that if none of those things happen to me directly or i didn't see it in everyday life; then the idea of racism did not exist and was a figment of historical past. What did not occur to me was that i did experience a form of racism as a young child in elementary school; figure that, it took me all these years to really understand how prejudice works.
As a young boy really gaining a beginning understanding of the world, i was at the time that i started to have feelings for members of the opposite sex. There was one girl in particular (will not use real name out of respect) that i had strong affections for and she felt the same way about me. Every opportunity i had to talk to her, send her a note, or hold the door, i was always there looking to put a smile on her face. The feeling and excitement of having my first girlfriend (this all occurred in 3rd grade) was more than enough to have my daydream during my multiplication tables and grammar exercises. The chance for a relationship never came to fruition.
I will never know how her parents came to find out about me and her, nor do i know how they got in contact with my homeroom teacher. One day i was in my gym class doing a sit-up exercise, when i got called out of class by my homeroom teacher. She told me straight up to my face that i could have no further contact with this girl on the request by her parents. Being a 9 year old i could not fathom the full weight of what i was experiencing; the only thing that went through my not yet fully developed mind was i would never be able to write notes to this girl anymore. It was then said to me “ They do not like black people and they they do not feel comfortable with you talking to (girl’s name). It’s crazy how being a little kid you don't really see the underlying nature of creating events; that is one of the benefits of being a child, you can be protected from all the ugliness of the world until your mind is developed to handle it all.
Naturally, i ended up moving on and i have gone to meet other girls and i am in the middle of the sixth year of a long term relationship at the moment. I write this article to show how at some point of the lives of African Americans and other brown skin ethnic groups; there is the first moment in which we experience how different we are viewed and looked at in society. I happen to be able to have friends from all different forms in life and have enjoyed the social benefits of seeing things in the lens of different backgrounds. Sadly, there is also the grim fact that for the rest of my life, i will always be seen as being different the eyes of society.