This I Believe

Morgan - University Park, Pennsylvania
Entered on September 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

My dad was in the military and his latest assignment landed him in Utah, where very few people looked liked me. This was not something that bothered me at all. I was raised not to look at people’s skin color and I thought that people were not looking at mine, until one day when I learned otherwise.

It was midway through my eight grade year when a friend and I had decided to go to the convenience store before class started. The store was filled with middle school students just like us trying to get a quick fix of sugar in the form of candy bars and caffeinated drinks before the long school day began. As we walked through the store idling all of the goodies that they had to offer all of a sudden I saw the finger of a cashier pointing directly at me. She told me that I was not going to buy anything and that I needed to leave the store. I could feel the sense of firmness in her voice and I felt as if I did not leave at once some sort of punishment would have been afflicted upon me.

I left the store embarrassed. Why would she say something to me out of the other twenty-something people in the store? I was a straight “A” student, I had never got into any trouble, and I had never stolen from anyone. I tried to find a reason why she would pick on me. I figured that maybe I looked suspicious or maybe it was my backpack, but all the other kids had backpacks too. I racked my young mind trying to think of reasons when I realized that there was only one difference between me and all of my peers in the store, I was darker than them. As I stood outside waiting for my friend I could feel the tears that I tried so hard to not let fall begin to freeze in the cold Utah air.

To this day, I want to believe that that cashier did not ask me to leave because of my race. I want so badly to be able to blame myself.

I believe that there is a lot of work to be done in this country in regards to racism, but I also believe that it can be done. I believe that I should not have left that store that day because I had every right to be there. I should of spoke up or at least questioned her actions. I believe that all of you should join my anti-racist campaign. You don’t have to give any donations or attend any meetings. All you have to do is speak up.