Where I am from. Things are very black and white. So are people.

Where I am from. Things are very black and white. So are people.

When I was in preschool, just 4 years old, a few classmate of mine told me that I needed to take a bath, my skin wasn’t supposed to “look like that” and that “my people” were dirty .

I told her that I took baths everyday, I am not dirty.

Two of my friends yelled at the girl and told me to ignore her and we continued to play in our kitchen at school.

Being 4, I was confused.Ā I assumed she was right and went home visibly upset that afternoon.

When my mother got home from work, she asked me about my day at school. I told it was ok and told her I was wondering if I could get some white paint, so I could paint myself.

She told me no, you can’t paint on your skin and asked me why I wanted to.

I told her I wanted to paint my skin so I could be prettier.

She kept asking me where I had gotten the idea and I didn’t want to tell, but eventually caved.

I told her what the little girl had said about me and how it made me very upset that she called me dirty.

That was the first conversation about race and racism that my mother and I had.

She explained that the little girl didn’t know any better and she only knows what her parent have taught her. She may not have seen black people before or she just may not have understood the power of her words.

When I returned to school the next day, my mother marched me in and we went directly to my preschool director and told her what happened. She brought the little girl in and she apologized.

She also called her parents and told them what she had said.

We hugged and made up, but I never talked to her again after all the adults left.

When her parent picked her up that afternoon, her mother found me, and apologized again.

I have never forgotten that.

Probably never will.

That first experience structured most of them after.

I never hated the girl, but I always felt so sorry for her.

That she, at 4 years old, was being taught such hateful things


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