As I Am

It started when I was in first grade. My teacher had my brothers a few grades before me, and they were not the best students.  

She assumed that I was just like them.  

One day in class I was talking to my neighbor about the classwork when the teacher called us back to her attention. She thought we were talking about non-school related things. She called me to the front and moved my desk up against the wall where I had to sit by myself.  

At first, I thought she would move me back, but she never did.  

There was a student in that class that would tell her to shut up and be disrespectful to her. She never moved him by himself, just told him to calm down and take a breather.  

She would call my mom about me in class and wrote notes for me to give to my mom. 

My third-grade teacher also had my brother years back, and he told me that she was also mean to him.  

If there was a conflict with me and other students, she would always take their sides, and I would not be being able to play at recess and had to sit by myself at lunch.  

When we were having a dance party in the class, a student said I was dancing inappropriately, but I was not. The teacher believed her, and I got in trouble  

When I was in the 4th grade, I wanted to be part of a group of friends who always had fun together. In PE one day I asked one of the girls If I could be a part of their group. She told me if I joined their group, I would have to stop wearing braids and weave.    

In 6th grade I was in a class with mostly white people and three black people. I would wear different hairstyles and barely wore my natural hair. The kids in my class would say things like we know that is not your real hair. We can see the donut in the bun. Your braids are not cute. Your hair is stiff. You cannot sit with us. This side is the popular side.  

I felt like the whole class was against me. I only had one friend.  

At lunch they had a popular side and regular side. I sat on the regular side.  

Once when I was sitting at the lunch table someone called my name from the line. I looked over and one guy in a group fell.  

Laughing, the other boys in the group asked me, “Why did you do that?” 

I was confused. “What?” 

They laughed and one said, “When he saw your ugly face he passed out. 

 I was not as confident as I am now. It hurt. Then we were at the lunch table and the boys put a banana on my plate.  

When I transitioned to a mostly Black school, I still felt like and outsider. The students would call me names like white girl, stuck up, and bougie. They would also say I was weird because I did not talk or act like them, I was different. They made fun of the way I talked because my words were clear and proper. 

When I moved here, things changed again. 

When I am in class and I am the only black person in there I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me at times. The way society looks at Black people as not being intelligent makes me feel like I have to do things differently. It’s like school Asia does not want to give anyone a reason to call her “ghetto.” 

Today I know how to handle the negativity and pressure. I am more confident in myself. I love the fact that I talk proper because that will get you places in life. 

But I also know people are going to judge me, wherever I go for a lot of reasons. I’m okay with that. I’m going to be my true self. I am who I am for a reason. Every day that I’m alive, I’ve striving to be my best self.