Salt Lake City, UT
When I was in kindergarten and in class, I had to use the restroom. The teacher had forgotten and I was unaware but there was a girl using the restroom already. The bathroom is part of the classroom and has it’s own corridor which leads down a hallway to a toilet out of your line of sight until you get to the end of the hallway. I didn’t realize a girl was on that seat until I got there. Out of manners, because I had them even as a child, I said, “I’m sorry. I’ll leave. You’re using the bathroom.” and the girl cheerfully retorted with,”Oh, no. It’s ok. You can just sit on me and use it.” In our innocence we both were unaware of what was happening, but the teacher who’d finally realized her mistake when to the restroom, took me to the principal’s office and had me reprimanded and punished. That’s just the first experience when I’m young that show that I WILL be treated differently in life because of the color of my skin. Later, in the 4th grade while I was living in Greenwood, Mississippi, where I was born and raised…, we had a new student come into our class. She was white and she stuck out as the minority in our class. Because of this, NO ONE wanted to befriend her. No one wanted to be nice to her or socialize with her, except me. We learned each others names, I showed her dorky comics I drew in class, and we chased each other…LIKE KIDS. But I accidentally touched her chest, thought nothing of it, and was called out for it by a fellow classmate who stated to the teacher when she asked why I was distracted ,”..’Cause he touch that white girl titty!” and with that I was sent again to the principal’s office where I was punished for something without even understanding what I was being punished for. These are just my crappy experiences. I must mention one of someone I admire that rings out, but a young entertainer was threatened with his life just because he wanted to play the role of a white character while he himself is black (Childish Gambino). The sheer fact that white people can say to *US*, black people or any other person of color, “Don’t play Peter Parker. He’s white and you can’t take that from us” shows that despite all the centuries of us having our culture and heritage stripped away from us and how HARD we’ve had to struggle to regain it even in the 70’s white people still can dismiss our argument with their narcissistic superiority and treat us worse than second-class citizens; like children. There’s nothing worse than being made to think that your experiences are not relevant or unimportant. One night, at 2am, I left my friend’s apartment to walk across the street to go to the store. I could throw a rock at the store, literally, but 2 minutes after being outside a cop pulled, flashed his lights, and announced on an intercom “Puts your hands in the air and get in the car.” Respectfully, I do so anyway, but the fact that cops invoke this fear and have the power to disregard human rights and DETAIN an individual with such ease means that I must fit into the bullshit picture of society that is woven for me in order to survive. I live in a world where if I speak up and say “What you’re doing to me is wrong!” I can be punished for speaking up for myself more than a white person would be punished. There was a white woman ON THE NEWS simply because she called the president a nigger and said she hopes he gets assassinated. This speaks out about our society. Of course SOME people will look at that woman like she’s a dumbass, but who is aware of the number of people that agree with her? Or don’t see that there’s anything wrong with what she’s saying? I don’t know, but I have to assume at least 65% of the population of America (white people) can potentially fall into this category. White people don’t fuckin’ have this fear. They don’t have to fear a “black” authority coming behind them and telling them how disrespectful what they do or so is to the ancestors of black americans everywhere. It’s honestly unfair and unjust, but the way it is. I don’t believe in this divide but it doesn’t make it any less existential.