I picked up the phone and dialed my boyfriend's number. "Is Chris there?" I asked.
"Yes, who is this?" his mom asked. I told her and she asked, "Are you of African-American descent?"
"Well, Chris isn't allowed to date outside of the African-American community," she informed me, before hanging up.
Before this happened, I never really understood racism and how bad it could be. Because Chris's skin has more pigment than mine, I am no longer allowed to talk to him. I cannot help but think that racism should be illegal, that the government should make everyone stuff racism into a box and tie a red ribbon around it. Of course, not even the president can make people stop being racist.
I never did anything to his mother, yet she dislikes me because I am white. If I had been disrespectful to her, I could understand her not liking me, but she doesn't even know me. I would never dislike someone just because of their race.
What I experienced is just a very small example of how prevalent racism is in the world. I must admit, though, racism has gotten better over the years. The United States has progressed from slavery to internment camps to not allowing a teenager to have phone calls from his white friend.
If there were any chance that in my future I would dislike a person because of their skin color, that chance has dissolved. To most who read this, it will seem like it's no big deal, but it's a very big deal to me. Although there are bigger examples of racism, I learned a lot from my encounter, and I hope by reading about it you will, too.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.