The following is a letter that we received and wanted to share with our readers. Anybody that reads this blog is encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
During the rudimentary years of my life, I never knew much about racism. I understood that people were different colors, but that wasn’t a problem. But when I began living with my step-father, I was surrounded by racist slang. He would always call Black people the N-word while he would always call me and my “people” “sp*cs”. I didn’t really understand the racism behind these remarks, because I just learned to accept that these were the titles of each race. I never truly learned the cruelty of these words until I was about eight years old.
In the morning of a late summer day, my older brother and I walked out of our two-room apartment. We climbed up the wooden stairs to the main level and as we peered around our complex, we saw a group of Black teens sitting on the steps. There were four boys there that all dressed as stereotypical “Black teenagers”: white shirts, basketball shorts and shoes, with some wearing hats turned around, as well as some with various chains around their necks. My brother and I decided to walk over to them to introduce ourselves.
As we approached them, they seemed friendly. After including us in the conversation and getting to know us, we began to talk more and more. After talking to them and analyzing their apparel, only one thing popped in my mind, something that had only been there through the constant racial remarks against Black people. I approached who I thought was the leader of the group and said, “What’s your name?”
“Tyler,” he replied in a curious tone.
“Well I don’t want to call you Tyler, I’m going to call you n*****.”
As soon as the words fell out of my mouth, Tyler’s half smile and eased eyes turned into a solemn frown and wide eyes. I knew immediately what I had done. As I ran, my shoe fell off, and I was eventually taken down by the shoe Tyler threw at my head. Before he hurt me in any other way, his friends pushed him away telling him, “He doesn’t know any better.”
At this point I knew that it was time I knew better. The pain suffered that day was not from the impact of that shoe, but from my degradation of another race. For hundreds of years that word had been used to dehumanize Black people to three-fifths of a human, and I thought that it was but a common word. I’m one in seven billion people who have the opportunity to rise against this type of racism, and from then on out, I’ve been doing so. I won’t let my society get the better of me and poison me with prejudices. I am determined to help myself and others work together to help build a better community. A community with no races no nationalities, no titles. A community in which people are simply people, and these people would be treated accordingly.