Dear Sister

We have white parents and a white family, but we surrounded ourselves with every color of the rainbow growing up. When we were young we didn’t see the physical differences between people, we saw who they were as a person either as our friend or as our childhood foe; foe, because they pushed us down on the playground that one time during recess. As we grew, the color of skin became a more prominent feature to be recognized. It wasn’t necessarily our fault, we watched too much television, we paid more attention to what our friends said, and we just went with what we knew. There were stereotypes built into everyone’s mind about certain people and how they should act. I saw those stereotypes broken every day of high school by my classmates. Yet it was still there; there was still the thought in the back of everyone’s mind about the stereotypes of those certain people. There’s a book called Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, well more like a letter like the one I’m writing to you now. It’s about how racism has never really come to an end, and why it’s almost impossible for it to go extinct completely despite our history of fighting. Coates writes a letter to his son about the world that he will grow up in, the world Coates himself grew up in, and how he needed to stay true to himself despite all of these fighting factors against it. In one part of his letter, Coates writes “I’d seen at The Mecca, all their variation, all their hair, all their language, all their stories and geography, all their stunning humanity, and none of it could save them from the mark of plunder and the gravity of our particular world” (81). I love that part, how much beauty is there in the world and how much of it is not expressed because of oppression and fear of showing who we really are? Coates sees the beauty that can be found with other races, their distinct facial features, and their way of expressing themselves. I think we became somewhat blind to that. It’s harder to follow your Dream when everything in the world gives you horrible odds and an implied poor outcome. Everyone has their difficulties in life, but let’s be real. We had great opportunity growing up to follow our dream and do what we want to do in life? We’re not rich as all hell, we can’t afford to travel aborad, we can’t even afford the school I’m spending five years at, but we always were helped in school, we always had the support of our parents and friends, and we always had our teachers on our side. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had no support. You have more motivation than me, but I wouldn’t be where I am if we grew up with the world against us. Coates critiques this Dream that every young hearted person has. The Dream for the better, the Dream to become the best possible version of yourself. It’s all about opportunity. He explains, “All along I knew that there were some, those who lived in the Dream, for whom the conversation was different” (85). The Dream is the most personal and unique idea that keeps us going through the day. Some people have the opportunity to live that Dream, others have to fight four times as hard as others just because of where they come from, what they look like, what their genetic code is. The Dream was built by the American culture to strive for greater. It was built by our history, the history that lives on slavery, violence, and oppression. Coates explains that the Dream was never meant for those of color. We have come a long way in our history, but we still have milestones to go; not only for people of color, but people of religion, LGBT, and mental diseases. This world has a lot of work on to be “free”.

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