My name is Victoria. I go to Guilderland High School, and I play soccer for the Albany Alleycats soccer club. My teammates and coaches call me Tor. I am biracial. My mother is white, and both of her parents are American, of German and Polish descent. My father is black, his parents and grandparents were also born in America.
When I was little, I didn’t think much about my skin color. I knew I was biracial, but it wasn’t my primary focus. Now that I am older, I am fully aware of what I look like and how that might affect my life. When a person who does not know me tries to identify my race, they usually assume that I am only black. When I explain to them that I am biracial, they are shocked to find out that I am also white.
As a person of color, I’ve had experiences that disturb me to this day. For example,when I started high school, I had just switched schools and didn’t know anyone. On the way to class, another person of color and I were stopped by someone we didn’t know. He aggressively yelled that we “should be thankful to be in America and that we should respect what this country has done for our kind of people and the opportunities it’s given us”. It bothers me that there are people who truly believe that people of color should be thankful for “what America has done for them”.
It’s the black community’s resilience and persistence that should earn them equal opportunity and respect. We have contributed to many achievements that helped build America. Contributions to society by the black community are only recognized as important because of the extra mile black people have had to go in order to prove their worth.
On multiple occasions, I’ve had to educate people that certain words, phrases, or stereotypes are unacceptable to say to or about a person of color. I shouldn’t have to explain, but unfortunately, some people do not understand why these phrases are wrong.
I used to be really good friends with someone who happened to be white. We were just casually talking when he referred to someone he was talking about as the n-word. I didn’t know what to think. This was a person who I had known for a long time, and I never thought he would use that word. I politely told him that what he said was not okay, and that this particular word has a negative connotation and a long, painful history. What further annoyed me was that he tried to justify using that word by saying that he was given a “pass” by other friends.
I don’t say that word because I think it’s wrong. I told this individual that If he continued to use this word, we could no longer be friends, as it is offensive to me and many people in the black community. Sadly, we are no longer friends.
It’s heartbreaking to see that we live in a world where racism still exists. To see people being treated poorly because of the color of their skin is appalling. It goes to show that a lot more needs to be done to fix the injustices that we continue to see in this day and age. Non-black people need to be held accountable for their actions and recognize that their privilege often exists at the expense of black people. It’s infuriating to watch people only receive a slap on the wrist when they deliberately dehumanize and kill black people on the basis of race.
Black lives are put at risk because of the social prejudices that prevent black people from living life as freely as someone who is white. Skin color does not determine someone’s worth, and it does not dictate the treatment that they should receive. To grow, people have to open up their eyes to the brutality and mistreatment that the black community endures every day and how much damage it has caused. You have to learn to unlearn. It’s important to listen to those who have been affected, have difficult conversations, and collectively come together to figure out what steps need to be taken to eliminate racial injustices. People need to learn how their actions are affecting others and that as a society, we need to evolve.
Instead of dividing people over their racial differences, we should learn to love people for who they are. We should be celebrating the different shades that people come in, not fearing it. It’s important to teach that diversity is not something to be ashamed of and it can expand our worldview for the better.