I’ve been through a lot. If someone had warned me about what would have come after, I would have put up a fight. Moving to a different school was always hard. Imagine moving all the way across the US! Being a new kid was rather unnerving. Being a new kid from D.C. was even worse.
There were a lot of different races and cultures in my new school. If a lot of them were new to me, I was also different to them. Three quarters of my first California school was made up of Latino children; I am not Latino. I’m African American. There weren’t very many kids of my race in my new community, so that left me being the only African American in my class. I was peppered with questions like “why does your hair look like that?”, “why does your hair feel like that?”, “why is your skin that color?” and more. I was speechless. At 7, I wasn’t prepared for those questions. It didn’t stop there.
As I got older the questions continued, and were less and less harmless. I began getting bullied, not only for my skin color but also for my height. No one even cared that the darkness of my skin comes from my Panamanian side, and not my African American. See, I was Spanish just like the rest of the kids, but I guess that they couldn’t see that through their ignorance. I began to lose myself. When people would make a racist remark I would lie and say that I wasn’t black. I regretted it every time, but it became a habit of self-defense.
For 6 years I’ve been living a life untrue to me. People say society makes the person, but that’s not true. I allowed the people who judged me to shape who I am as a whole. Now I’m the one with questions: Do I want to be the Kourtni that everyone expects, or the Kourtni I truly am? Should I continue to live this life of lies, or be true to myself?
With a Perspective, I’m Kourtni R.
Panther Pen -- The Panther Pen is a collaboration between the students, staff, and parents of Crittenden Middle School.The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Crittenden Middle School or Mountain View Whisman School District.