Do unto others


I grew up knowing what it felt like being in the minority.  I never considered myself different than the other kids in school until I revealed in the 4th grade that I was half Puerto Rican.  My teacher discovered (cannot remember how) that I was bi-racial.  She was fascinated and asked if I would create a short presentation of my roots.  I was glad to do it; this doey eyed innocent little girl who held no shame about being “different”. I brought pictures, wrote out the alphabet and showed the kids how to pronounce each letter. Afterwards I received accolades from the teachers and even gave a presentation to the 5th grade class.

Little was I to know then the drama that would unfold through my childhood and teenage years for being the mixed child. Kids would call me names (and the wrong racial slurs also). I was called a wetback though Spic was the more appropriate term.  Had rocks thrown at me, was spat upon all because my father decided to marry an island girl who was a little more brown than others and spoke with a beautifully lilting accent.

I learned to stick up for myself, to fight back with words and not fists.  All that torrential abuse caused me to quickly learn to develop a thick skin but when you’re a 9 year old little girl you haven’t quite developed the tools to wrap your arms around your heart in protection.  It took time, and made me realize how sad these people were who would so easily discount so many of the world’s population and of course, someone like me.
Those racial taunts only spurred me even harder to leave home and succeed, which I did. We all have to learn how to get along. Doesn’t matter your racial, ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic background.  We have but this one life, this one planet.  Let’s all try to get along…shall we?

Racism springs from the lie that certain human beings are less than fully human. It’s a self-centered falsehood that corrupts our minds into believing we are right to treat others as we would not want to be treated.
Alveda King

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