My Story: personal essays

One Race. Human Race.

An Atlanta teen's mission to break down racial barriers

8/29/2011

I didn’t know I was Black until fourth grade. I wasn’t raised to see things in black and white. Rather, I see all the glorious hues in between. I’ve always had friends from all colors of the rainbow. How could I tell my friends that I didn’t want to be called Black anymore, but a human being? It seemed impossible that all of my family’s history — all of their ancestral struggle — could be summarized by one word.

I was even more shocked when I came across another label: Other. I knew, then, that it was less about understanding mybackground, and more about convenience for others to neatly categorize me by the way I look. Even if my best friend is half-Indonesian and half-White, it is more convenient to classify her as other. How could I tell that friend that she was too unique to have a label?

My belief in one race motivated me to launch a personal campaign to ban racial labels: “BRL.” I was in eighth grade and feeling liberated, as I wore Post-Its on my shirt every day, with a new campaign slogan. One day, I wore a Post-It that read: “I’m not Black, but I’m proud,” and a classmate approached me. “If you’re not Black, than what are you?” I told her I was the same thing she was — a human being. Though I had support from friends and family, some people were unsure of the complications that would follow my campaign. When filling out applications and school surveys, which box did I check? Which ethnicity did I associate myself with?  I know where my family is from originally, but some kids don’t know their family history beyond the States. Now, I embrace the complexity in my diversity. Race/Ethnicity? I believe in the Human race.

Through my BRL campaign, I felt confident to proclaim my belief in my middle school hallways. However, when I entered high school, I lost sight of the BRL message. Suddenly, it became more important to make friends just to avoid the dreaded awkward stares in the hallway. How could I make room for a barrier-breaking campaign in hallways that were alien to me? Teachers had unknown political interests, and new friends expressed clashing personal views. When class discussions turned toward the controversial topic of race in America, I would counter with the newfangled idea that race does not exist. What ensued – the abrupt turning of the heads and confused glances – told me all I needed to know about the issue: denying the existence of race was too radical for the casual chatter of the classroom.

Once more I discovered further categorization of people within certain racial labels. It suddenly appeared that, to be Black, one had to speak in broken sentences, sag his/her pants and listen exclusively to rap music. If you were Black and didn’t follow any of these rules, then you’re still labeled, only as White.

Even though many teens don’t subscribe to stereotyping, it still seems to linger as the unspoken rule. These rigid social norms only serve to further divide an already-divisive society. If stereotypes are to disappear, these racial markers have to be the first to go.  It begins and ends with labels. 

Paige, 17, attends North Atlanta High and was a participant at VOX Media Cafe this summer.

 

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  1. ashley posted on 11/16/2011 07:48 PM
    this is so amazing. i totally agree!
  2. asdsadad posted on 03/27/2015 10:39 AM
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  3. ubagpanwallet posted on 03/27/2015 11:33 PM
    明るく輝くレモンイエローが燃え上がる夏の日にあげるのは少しもさわやかで、美しい気持ちも次にジャンプし始めます、スーパーコピーベルトとても大きい容量と超柔らかの材質、本当の出費の一流。無色係はよく合います:黒い石灰のこれらのシャネルスーパーコピー基礎の色でカラーによく合ってかばん、最もよくある組み合シャネルコピーわせの方法で、同時にあなたに平々凡々とすることができるファッションは瞬間とても恥をかくようになります。シャネル鎖がヒシの格のかばんを持って興ってから、チェックの鎖はかばんを持ってクラシックの敗けないデザインになって、優雅な白黒のデザインがまだカラーの活発なデザインなのスーパーコピーアクセサリにも関わらず、すべて女達を夢中になってやまなくさせる!またシャネルの鎖がチェックかばんを持つので、白黒の2色の服装にきらめくのシャネルコピーが感動させて、1本の鎖は手を連れて持って手で包んで、partyに出席するのスーパーコピーベルトにも関わらずやはり(それとも)街をぶらついてショッピングするすべてとても十分な範!

    OLのオーバーオールは通常比較的重い色だ今年秋冬季に春夏の明るいのを引きとめておきますが、しかし強い色調はずっと冬季を貫いて、これでアクセサリーがしに来て全体ロエベ財布スーパーコピーほこりに陥るようなことはないのが重いと感グッチ財布コピーじるのが必要です。いつも得て、1モデルのコピーブランド適切なかばんを選んで肩先があなたの全体のコピーブランド造型のためで加えて分けるのロエベ財布スーパーコピーを背負って、相反して、もしも適当でない会によく合ってあなたのイメージを折れるのが損で多い。だからもしもあなたは1モデルが大いに休んで包みがあって、よく必ず熟慮してどのようにそれを背負って出なければならなくて、自分を他のブルガリ財布スーパーコピー人の笑いぐさにならないようにします。


    粘り強いあかは恐らく温和な洗剤グッチ激安で対処して、あるいは専門の清潔な処理が必要です。もしも皮革は磨損のグッチ激安情況があって、脂っこくない無色の皮革のベースクリームを塗りつけることができて、それをゆっくりとしみ込ませた後に、また清潔グッチ偽物で柔軟な雑巾でぴかぴかに磨き立てて、皮革に明るく美しい光沢を再現させるの、皮革が乾燥するのを防止コピーベルトすることができますも。買って選んでかばん時、ブランド、外観の品質、価格などの原因が普通で人々の考慮する原因で、実は、これら以外、また(まだ)個人の服装グッチ激安の風格と趣味に注意するべきで、かばんになって持ち帰っコピースカーフた後にないようにしますを、服と上号ことができませんに対して、棚上げにすることしかできませんでした。

    多数の外でリュックサックを支えるが提供ベルト通販して物品を置くたくさんの小さい側袋があって、しかし、頑丈な外に姿勢のリュックサックの骨格の積載重量のヴィトン通販重点の通常高い於の肩と腰、このようにその負重センター点は背負ヴィトン激安う者が平衡がとれているのを維持するために前へ傾きをもたらして、しかも同時にの外で姿勢のリュックサックのかたい骨格が行進間の回転する空間重点点を下げるのがわりに高くて行進して過程がはかりに同じように維持す腕時計通販るのをもたらします。外姿勢ヴィトン通販のリュックサックの辺鄙な法は先にベルトを調整するベルト通販ので。
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