"There aren't any n----rs on this bus, right?" I heard a familiar voice yell from the back. As I turned to look at her, vile words ran through my mind, but even they could not remove the pain in my heart. Yet I refused to stoop to her level and speak them out loud. In the past, I have responded with rage when a peer accused me of being a racist or when my father was called an Oreo.
My dad is African American and Native American; my mom is French, Irish and Czechoslovakian. Therefore, I am a bit of many things. I'm proud of my heritage. My grandfather was the first black real-estate agent in Windsor and my dad was the first black police officer in Newington. Both suffered a lot of prejudice and had to work harder than most to reach their goals.
My family is certainly remarkable, and I get an inside look at different worlds, but there are negatives to being multicultural, including ignorant racial jokes and insults from those who perceive me as different. Proud to be black, I am unable to take these jokes lightly. Many times I wonder how they can act so immature or stoop so low. Why do people continue to make racial comments?
The girl on the bus or the girl who called me racist before even knowing me, are good examples of this lack of awareness.
"Where's your dad from?" my tennis instructor asks.
"Windsor," I answer, knowing full well what he's really asking.
"What about your mom?" he pressures.
"Manchester," I respond stubbornly.
"No, I mean, what nationality are they," he finally specifies.
"Oh, well, my dad's black and my mom is white," I relent as I think, Like it matters.
"I knew there was something different about you" is his reply.
The fact that I'm of mixed races is a curiosity to many; it is not as if everyone is racist, but the few who are make life challenging. I am not outwardly black and many are surprised when they learn about my background. I am glad to show them how well races can get along and answer their questions. Sometimes I feel like I'm on display, but if others are willing to learn, I'm willing to answer questions.
The obnoxious laughter of the girl forces its way into my ears as I wonder why she laughs. The laughter tells me that she thinks I am missing out because I am black. But she is wrong. I will not miss out on anything because my ignorance is not holding me back from doing what I truly love; in fact, because I am many races, I will exceed expectations as I represent all my people and prove the value of being multicultural.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.