2009-01-27

How I Grew Up



This is a request for Abagond. He asked me to give you guys insight on how I grew up.

I grew up sheltered. I guess that is the best way to put it. I was born in a town that was 50% black, but pretty much lived in an all white area, went to an all white private school through 1st grade, and then we moved to another town for my dad's job. Again the same thing. I lived in an all white neighborhood, went to a practically all white private school, and then we moved a few years later. I for three years went to public school, a predominantly white one (but with an almost 10% black population) and lived in a predominantly white neighborhood. My first real exposure to black kids. They made fun of me, told me I thought I was white, told me I talked like a white girl, and that I thought I was better than them because I lived in a "brick house" (like brick was the epitome of wealth, in Texas everyone has a brick house just about). Yeah that scared me off of black people for a while. The white kids for the most part didn't say anything, but some did the whole, "my parents would like you, you aren't like the others" bullshit that I loathe now. I got white friends who parents would say the same thing. I had a few who told me I didn't know my place and that I needed to learn to be "black". That and during black history month they would apologize for slavery. I would always have some white kid beg to tell me a funny n*gger joke and then say "no offense". That happened at every school. It was par for the course being around white kids. I was only called the n-word a few times. I was called a "spic" in kindergarten and once the boy next door called me a "black girl", I cried both times, because they said it mean, and I wasn't sure what a "spic" was, but I knew I wasn't good.

Then we moved again, this time to where I went to high school. I moved to a practically at the time all white suburb and went to the school in the same district my mom was teaching. I went to high school there and freshman year I was among three blacks in the whole school, by graduation I was one of maybe 30 blacks kids in the school, I was one of six in my graduating class. Between freshman and senior years there was a group of black girls in the grade behind me, who absolutely hated me. They would sing the Oreo cookie song whenever I passed by. One of those girls tried to fight me, upset that I had taken a boy she liked. In reality the boy was gay and we were friends. I found it odd she wanted to fight over a white boy, considering how she felt I was just too white myself. High school made me scared of black folks too.

I then went to college. I ran into a few black folks that would talk crazy to me about talking like a white girl and liking white things, but for the most part I was able to find black folks, and decided at age 18, I was black, before then I was in denial. I started listening to Public Enemy, De La Soul, and the like. I found hispanic and blacks folks to hang with in college, but I had my fair share of white friends too. I met my husband hanging out with hispanic and black folks a few years later.

I still get made fun of for talking like a white girl from both whites and blacks, it doesn't bother me, I refuse to shuck and jive for folks to show them how "down" I am. I probably have gotten a bit more militant on race issues, that is due to me being old and grumpy, and that makes me more pessimistic.