Being Black.

black

This yearly celebration of Black History Month, all started when one man named Dr. Carter G. Woodson wanted to make  a difference.  He wanted people to become aware of the discrimination, racism, and prejudice that surrounds the African American community.

I am a 28 year old black woman.  I am proud to be, and I want my kids to be as well.

You see, I wasn’t always this way. I spent more than half of my life, thinking completely different, because I wanted to be stubborn, ignorant, and believe that all black people would resemble the one person I disliked the most in my life… my Dad.

Growing up in a white family (my mom married my step-Dad when I was six years old), I didn’t know that I was different.  My mom never made it a point to discriminate others, or judged anyone else based on the color of their skin.  She raised to me to treat everyone equal.  I proudly said yes to anyone who asked when they looked at me (half black/white), and then looked at my mom and said the words “is that your mom”?

Growing up in school, they make it a point to put it in the textbooks about slavery, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr., but we didn’t go much beyond that.  We didn’t dive much into the topics, it’s almost as if we just barely touched the surface.

I remember a very distinct conversation I had with my mom when I was younger when I was taking a test and they had filled in my race/ethnicity as Black. I came home furious and asked my mom why they wouldn’t put White since I was, and that was the moment that I will never forget.  She said to me “Sweetie, your father is black and therefore your ethnic background/race will always be Black”.  It stung hard.  It hurt.

It wasn’t until I met Shane and his family, that I started learning what it was like for them to grow up in a predominant white community, and experience racism first hand.  I never had to experience the daily trials and tribulations that they lived through.  My heart hurt for them to hear how people would use the word “nigger” when talking to them/about them, or the many examples that they gave me of people disrespecting them.  Shane’s Grandma (may she Rest In Peace), taught me so much during my 3 hour interview with her about growing up in our small town, going to different schools and how she had to use a different public restroom than the white people in town.  Our community has changed so much for the better, but there is still such a long way to go.

I will always be honored to celebrate the African American community, to celebrate the #Blacklivesmatter movement and to fight for equality in our nation and fight for the eradication of racism in our county.

©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

 

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