Adverse events that happen to us as children affect us all through life. That’s not to say that we can’t overcome the adverse experience that took place—it simply means the memory carries over into our life as we advance forward.
All through history, nationality has been a prevalent barrier that has separated people and created racism, attitudes of superiority, and a myriad of other factors. In fact, the race barrier is one of the main causes for why humans universally haven’t advanced spiritually, and why some people aren’t free to reach their highest potential.
Growing up in a wooded area isolated from the rest of the townspeople amid nine siblings was the ideal environment! When we were growing up, color variation amongst us seemed natural. Some of us had light brown skin and most of us had fair skin with long straight hair. Even though we saw color with our physical eyes, it wasn’t a factor that created conflict amongst us; we were just kids enjoying being kids!
My grandfather lived next door to our house. He was the first person to cause me to question my nationality. When I visited him, he would tell me “You’re a little white girl.” When I asked my mother what color I was, she would say, “You’re colored.” The contradiction confused me. By the time I started elementary school, my nationality was in question and created confusion inside me.
My siblings and I went to a predominantly white school. Everyone in my class was white. It was in that classroom that I came face to face with racism for the first time. I walked into the classroom as an innocent, naive child. Little did I know what would confront me. I walked in feeling like a normal kid; by the end of the day, I knew how it felt to be different. At six years of age, I didn’t understand that racism was what I was sensing, I simply felt like an outcast. It was one of the most uncomfortable feelings that I had encountered as a child. I didn’t understand why I was rejected; not only by children but by the teacher also.
That adverse experience of racism molded me and my outlook on life! I’d been oblivious to seeing myself as a color, and seeing other people as a color wasn’t my mentality. When I was around other people, it was the inner person that interested me, not the color of their skin. Color didn’t define me and it certainly had nothing to do with my capabilities.
Today, the human race has advanced from the primitive attitudes of racism to a great degree, however color is still an issue in our society. Some nationalities continue to put themselves in color boxes; and other nationalities oblige them. I suppose it’s a person’s choice to do so, however its indicative of a society that still hasn’t advanced beyond the color barrier—not even on an individual basis.
My early childhood memory of the adverse experience of racism stares me in the face every day; every time someone looks at me and wonders, what color is she? and I’m thinking, I’m not a color, I’m a person!