I'm Black and Proud...What Are You?- why race and the right to protest are so important -


If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in APUSH so far, it’s that America was built on the backs of those who worked hard. From the Cherokees to the Robber Barons, whether their intentions were right or not, the world we live in today was shaped by a history of men and women with driving passions. But somehow, in this living history textbook of people, some groups are more appreciated than others.

I’ve lived in Ventura my entire life. I’ve seen all of the changes, occurrences, and natural disasters here. I’ve watched as this small beach town blossomed into a more diverse and populated place. However, there’s no denying this simple fact: I am a minority living in a predominantly white-based town. And that doesn’t make life easy for me. I’ll explain.

I have gone to private school from preschool all the way up until 8th. Now private school for me wasn’t fun. Everyone there was rich and privileged, and you can pretty much guarantee that unless you were white with long straight hair and a new pair of Hollister jeans, you were pretty much socially outcasted whether you wanted to except it or not (i.e. my private school experience). Being one out of maybe two or three mixed or African-American kids in my entire middle school pretty much sucked. Because I wasn’t white with blonde hair and blue eyes, I was looked at completely differently. Parents would gawk at my ability to get straight As, just as my peers would gawk at me while we covered the Civil War unit in U.S. History. And that wasn’t fun, but I thought that it would get better in high school. And it did. But it also didn’t.

High school is a whole different beast. And my race matters just as much now as it did at private school. Even in a public school, I can count the number of black or mixed student with my two hands. Better than private school, but still,less than 10 out of 1000 students. Let that sink in. Now let’s continue. From freshman year until now, I have people come up to me asking me whether or not I’ve ever straightened my curly hair (what? Is my hair not good enough for your standards? o_0), or how I feel about the n-word, or where I am from. And while Foothill is definitely a step up in diversity, I am still a minority surrounded by a majority. It doesn’t surprise me that my race is one of the first things people see about me, and one of the only things they seem to remember about me.

Despite all of the stereotypes, crude jokes, and assumptions made about my race, I am so proud of the accomplishments made by African Americans, especially recently. Last year, as we know, we saw an influx of police brutality scenes and the inspirational Black Lives Matter Movement. It was quite an amazing movement to see, however there are just so many ignorant people, even here at school, who are quick to shut down any racial pride. And somehow, with me being part black, their ignorance was projected right onto me. Shocking, right? Someone in class with me last year, for instance actually had the audacity to say, “It should be all lives matter, not black lives matter”. Now I, of course, am all for equality, but I need to call B.S. on statements like this. Society, even today, is centered on prejudice and separation, even if it is not as extreme as years before. The reason why BLM was creating in the first place was to bring awareness to racial inequality. Although we have seen major improvements, it’s impossible to deny that privileges just seems to float towards certain races more than others. Which is why, since the birth of America, we have had the right to protest, the right to stand up for what we believe in. Now not to say that everyone is like this, but isn’t it funny how it takes a freaking movement protesting the racism of a minority for people (particularly the racial majority...*cough cough*) to start complaining about wanting their "fair share" of equality?

Do I not have the right to be black and proud? Does the boy who likes guys not have the right to be gay and proud? What about women? Can we be female and proud? Each and every one of us are human beings. We are all skin and bone with blood flowing through our veins. We are equal. And we deserve to be proud of who we are. You can be white, black, or somewhere in between, but at the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters. But even though equality has shown a new light compared to parts of our history, race, as well as sexuality and religion, still continue to be ridiculed in some way. It’s ok to be proud of who you are, and to voice your opinions. But don’t you dare belittle others who may seem a little different than yourself.