Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Racist Kids And The Chameleon

Stemming from my adoption…I will give you a bit of a back story on me.

My natural mother is white and natural father is black (making me…an Oreo.) I was adopted in 1967, when I was 10 days old by a very loving couple (both white.) They already had one daughter and then had a miscarriage, so they decided to adopt me. Now, I can’t say how I felt then…cuz I was tiny little thing that only knew to cry, poo and eat. What I can say is that we lived in rural New Hampshire…where everything (except the leaves in the Fall) was white. Oh….but not me…I was/am more of a caramel. Anyway, life was good, at least from where I sat and in my baby world.

As I got a bit older (5 or 6), I started to experience racism…and this was even before I really knew what it was. I obviously knew that I looked different than EVERYONE…but I just thought that everyone WAS different…some pale, some pinkish, some fat, some skinny, some had black hair, some blonde, etc. I guess that I never really brought it up cuz I thought my skin was a bit darker. Boy it would be great if everyone had my 6 year old attitude. Soon after going into first grade and coming home from school with stories of people being mean and not seeing anyone else that looked anything like me, my mother sat me down for a discussion.

My mother told me that (in a longer, more descriptive way) that I was adopted and that one of my natural parents was black. At the time…I guess that was enough…now I knew why I was different. The community that we lived in was completely white. Iwas the only person of colorin the entire school at that point. My mother then told me that if people were being mean to me, that I should immediately tell my teacher or the principal. At the time…that sounded good to me, figuring that the teachers would straighten things out.

As time went on, kids were still mean and basically ignored me…unless they were picking on me. I told the teachers a few times, but the message that I got from them was, “kids this age can be mean…you have to just get used to it.”

In second and third grades, things got worse. There was more of the same nagging and kids making fun of me as well as a lot of pushing and instigating trouble. It was in third grade when I got into my first real fight. It was not what one would think of third graders, it was me trying to defend myself against several boys throwing punches and calling me “nigger.” After I thoroughly got thrashed, I did go to the principal’s office to report the fight and the boys who were responsible. The principal flipped through a book and then looked over at me before stating that there have been a lot of “reports” of trouble that included me. Then he proceeded to tell me that I would be in serious trouble if there were any more.

I knew, from that point on that the teachers and the principal would be of no help to me. I did not want to tell my parents because I knew that they would call the principal and then I would be in worse trouble. Now, looking back on this…it was some pretty intense thought for a 9 year old. After that first fight, the fights became a regular thing. I came to expect that I would spend my recess either hiding or fighting. At that point, I did not want to call on my older sister or younger brother for “back up, cuz I did not want them to have to endure what I was going through and did not want them to have to fight my battles for me. I knew that this had to be figured our by me…and me alone.



Anonymous said...

damn dood that sucks for sure. I bet they did give you hell especially if you were the only non white. Kids are hard enough on each other without that component.

WeaselMomma said...

I anxiously await part two.

Kristy said...

Can't wait to hear the end of the story because that is definitely a problem (bullying, racism) that people have a hard time knowing how to solve.

ZenMom said...

We think of kids - at least our own - as being the epitome of love and innocence. but the truth is that they are capable of acute cruelty. Breaks my heart to hear of experiences like this.

Danielle said...

It breaks my heart to hear about the way children that are "different" are treated. We as a society create so much of the reasons that people have issues.
I am sorry you had to endure this, and can't wait to read more!

Not a soccer mom said...

I am sorry you had such a tough childhood. Kids can always find a reason to tease.
But I think it starts at home. Cant wait to read part two about how you set them straight?

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