I have been thinking about what I want to share related to the continued racial unrest in our country for some time. I wanted to share something that would enlighten others on the issues of race in our nation. I decided to share the moment I learned that people saw me as less than….
I have always been type of person that loves people. No matter your color or economic status I was taught to love people and treat people the way I want to be treated. When I was 7 years old my grandparents moved to a new neighborhood in Kinston, NC. I stayed with them a lot because my mother was single parent and worked nights and weekends. Up until that time, I lived in an all African-American neighborhood. I would walk to Mr. Boone’s store to buy candy and around the corner to my aunt’s hair salon. I would play with my friend across the street or sit on the porch with my elderly neighbor (Mrs. Annie Lee) to watch the cars go by. Then one day, the move happen! I was suddenly thrust into a new neighborhood. My grandparents bought a nice home in a section of town I didn’t know existed. My grandparents were in their 60’s but wanted to fulfill their dream of home ownership. This nice quiet neighborhood would also be where I learned that black means being less than.
Our neighbors across the street were two really nice Caucasian ladies. I don’t remember their names but, to this day I have fond memories of them. I would visit their house just to sit and talk. The neighbors to the right of us were amazing people. The wife worked with my mom at Carolina Telephone and their son, who was a few years older than me, would make me sandwiches and allow me to follow him on his bike when he did his paper route. Then there were the neighbors behind us. One day I was riding my bike and I happen to pass by this house. The father was outside. As I passed the yard he yelled out, ” Don’t let your bike touch my grass”. Well, I was nowhere near his grass and I wondered why he would say such a thing. He had a young son who would play with me and the other kids in the neighborhood. Well, until he heard his fathers loud car coming down the street. He would run all the way home. I just didn’t understand why he would run away like that until the day it happened! I can’t tell you what happen before or why he was standing in our yard. This little boy told my grandmother that he was going to kill her because she was a n*****. At that age, I was suddenly confronted with an adult delima. This boy that would play with us in the afternoon and be kind to us wants to kill us because we are black. At that moment I understood why his father did not want my bike to touch his grass. Somehow, my bike would transfer my blackness to his grass and then to him. Needless to say after some time he and his family moved.
This was my introduction to being told that I was less than but it would not be my last. I experienced it a girl scout camp, in the community, and in college on several occasions. I share this story with hopes that people who don’t look like me can understand the feeling behind being treated like you are less than human just because you are black. The color of my skin has nothing to do with who I am or the path that God has given me. Learn to see people for who they are and not the color of their skin. We have to understand that there are good and bad people of all races. We must embrace that loving people is what God intends no matter their life circumstances. Everyone is born with a gift and calling. Some may choose to walk away from that path and some may choose to embrace it. No matter the circumstance I matter. My children matter. Black Lives Matter.