You Know My Name, But Not My Story


This photo symbolizes how much a black person is belittled in this school. The black pawn is surrounded by off-white Queens, displaying how vulnerable we, as young black people, feel in a world where white is representative of power. White symbolizes innocence, purity, and all things good while black symbolizes dark, evil, and all things bad. I think not.

Kayla Salemi, Staff Writer

I am different. I am a rare specimen in the myriad of milky skinned men and women. I am the odd ball in this game of life. I can feel the stares on me when I go out with my family. My brother and I are not like the rest of our siblings. My family is most definitely not like most families. I come from a different type of family. A transracial family (A transracial family means a one-raced family adopting a child or children of a different race.) My past is a blur that I try to forget, a minor image that floats through my thoughts every now and again.  I have always been the black sheep of my family (pun intended.) I have been called many things in my life so far. I am asked deranged questions that are directly or indirectly directed at me due to my skin tone. Yes, I am black. Yes, I am one of the handful of black people in my school. No, I am not ashamed of being black, nor do I in any way, shape or form, wish that I was born different. I am different, and I enjoy that.

Why do you act like a white person? What are the projects like? Why doesn’t your name sound ghetto? You aren’t even black. I hear all of them. I did not know that black people had to talk a certain way in order to be classified as being black. I talk like an educated young woman. The racial misrepresentation that people see on television these days is the reason that black women and men get a bad name. Just because I am black does not automatically mean I was raised in the projects or the ghetto, and I do not talk like a babbling ignorant fool despite the jargon that many people associate the black culture with.

I do admit I do come from a troubled past, one that only a few people know the full exploit of. My biological parents were abusing drugs and alcohol; therefore, they were not the best example of good parents. I know for a fact that I was not planned although I would think that after having nine other children (which I for one have never met, besides my older brother, Elijah who is only my half-brother) my mother would have learned how to prevent that. My mother was a prostitute, so she did not admittedly know the weight of her actions due to the amount of drugs she was taking on a daily basis. I do not know much about my father because he was not named on my birth certificate. I have to say the best thing my biological mother ever did for me was leave me and my half-brother on the side of the road. However, I do wish that someone could have helped her get over her addiction before it finally consumed her. My father, on the other hand, was part of a gang which took his life in a drive by shooting, but I was only a mere baby then, and this story is all that the adoption agency would disclose to my adoptive family.

I don’t think people understand how much of an agitated past I have had, and adding stereotypical assumptions on top of that does not help at all. I remember when I would come home from school and just break down and cry. I may act that it does not hurt or faze me, but really it just eats me alive inside. As a human being, who is equal to all other human beings, I should not feel subjected to shame because I am a darker skin tone than those around me. I am a speck on an immaculate counter top, a puddle of rain in the middle of a pulchritudinous scenery, a club thumb on Megan Fox’s admirable body. My adoptive father is my strength. He wanted me when no one else did, and I will always be grateful for that. Yes we have our ups and downs as any father-daughter relationship would, but in the end, family is all I truly have.

Yes, being black and living in a county that is still quite naive towards black people and their culture is difficult, but I try every day to ignore the stares and rude comments. I have been accustomed to being surrounded by all cultures; therefore, I do not see a difference between them. It pains me to hear the questions that flood out of some people’s unfiltered minds.

Back in middle school when we were learning about slavery, I remember a boy asking me how much I think I would have cost. That was one of the first times that I had really experienced a person racist situation. Yes, there were probably other incidents, but that one incident sticks out in memory. Why would someone intentionally try to force me into the shoes of a slave? What scares me most is that He did not even seem fazed by the shock the spread across my face like a wild fire as a result of his comment.

Lastly, I am not trying to blame everyone for only a handful of people’s stupidity and ignorance. I hope that this enlightens all those people that do not understand what I, as a black woman in this society, go through on a daily bases. I was raised in a white man’s world where being a black woman intimidates others. We are an exotic species that other people don’t understand, so they choose to hate on other dark skin, hate on our kinky hair, and hate on our outspoken minds instead of understanding where we come from as human beings.