That was my second incident of prejudice and what instilled in me that race–the color of my skin–was a problem. The first was during my first day of pre-school and being pushed off a tricycle by a little white boy and being told “You don’t belong here!” I was the ONLY black child in my class. Back then I was definitely too young to even comprehend what his words meant, but now that I look back I find it rather sad he knew what they meant. The incident above happened around the 3rd or 4th grade. A fellow classmate was handing out birthday invitations which held the equivalent of finding the Golden Ticket. I was so excited like many of the other kids in my class and was anxiously waiting for my invitation. One by one, I watched as my classmate handed them out and was just ready to get mine before we dismissed. As she got to me, she politely smiled and whispered in my ear, “I would invite you to my party, but sorry; my mom doesn’t like blacks.” I was so in awe, like a genuine confusion came upon me. I didn’t understand why me being black made her Mom dislike me. I had never had anyone dislike me at that point and definitely not because of what color I was. I was friends with almost everyone in my class, I wasn’t bias or prejudice. I am a people person and have always been. My brain couldn’t comprehend what was so wrong with my color of skin and why didn’t my mother didn’t like me because of it…and to this day I still don’t understand the under meanings of prejudice. That day I realized even at a young age, what the little boy did to me in pre-school and why I wasn’t invited to my classmate’s party was correlated. And from that, I just realized people white people don’t like blacks. And THAT was what introduced me to racism.
Markus & Moya claim that “Contrary to what most people believe, race and ethnicity are not things that people have or are. Rather, they are actions people do” (p.4). Based on my earliest exposures pertaining to race up until now, I completely agree with that statement. My stance concerning race is that is a factious ideal; it’s no realer than Santa Claus or unicorns. It is something society and the media has built and upheld on this pedestal and is only validated its longevity which makes people believe that is something real. Since race isn’t made up and it has nothing to do with our biological, it can only be implemented through society’s actions and thoughts, therefore making race an action. By discriminating, stereotyping, and prejudice race is an action. I’ve never seen any difference or felt a difference between any other people except when it came to color, but I let it interfere with our interactions. It is not our color that separates us, but our personalities. I’ve not gotten along with whites, blacks, Asians but not because of their skin color, but because of the actual individual. People will sometimes take one individual’s demeanor and actions and cast it upon anyone who looks like them. That is what doing race is.