Walking into a classroom with headphones in my ears, I notice the stares, the looks, the curiosity and sometimes even the disappointment. “Who is she?” “Why is she here?” “Is she smart enough to be here?”
I am an average student at JBU who happens to stand out from the majority of the student population. What makes me stand out, you may ask? My skin. The skin that I’m in constitutes for the way how others treat me. The skin that I’m in causes me to be looked down upon. The skin that I’m in causes some students to be afraid of approaching me. The skin I’m in causes me to lack a relationship with some professors.
Many people assume by the color of my skin that I fit into many stereotypes, such as: liking fried chicken, drinking Kool-Aid, listening to only a certain type of music, or talking in a certain way. In actuality, that is all wrong! I never grew up on fried chicken. My mom is a health conscious woman and fried food was rarely eaten at our house. I never even made Kool-Aid until I first came to JBU last year. As far as music, I like all kinds, from Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson to Waka Flocka Flame and Lauryn Hill.
It is hard for others to grasp the hardship of being black at JBU. We have to prove ourselves more, work harder and even go beyond the extra mile just for others to accept us.
Because I do not sound like “a typical black girl,” who speaks slang, some people are amazed when they hear me speak. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of black friends and the ones that I did have said that I was “too white for them.” My white friends considered me to be “too black for them,” so my friends were the Hispanics.
When I graduated high school, I was one of the most popular girls at school. I went to private school all of my life, so being surrounded in a Godly environment was not a problem for me. I played basketball and was part of many student groups. I took AP classes in high school, never got in trouble with the principal, and did my homework– pretty much your average girl.
So, why am I treated so differently on a campus that proclaims to accept diversity? At this point in time, we should all be able to see beyond color and look within.
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, he says, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” However, I feel that this issue has yet to be resolved.