I ran away from school, experienced a beating or two, and of course felt harassed. This seems typical for an adolescent in a public school. I was no adolescent, though. I was six.
I didn’t like being different. Every day I went to school and saw other kids, and it was difficult to feel comfortable. The people, the way they spoke, did not resemble what I was raised with. I didn’t hear a voice similar to my sister’s, mom’s or dad’s. I only saw one other kid who looked like I did. He was a boy, so I didn’t introduce myself.
I struggled every day. I say in my classroom confused. My skin, hair, and eyes were different. My skin shone beige, my hair glistened a bright blond, and my vivid blue eyes stood out. Everyone else had dark skin, eyes, and hair. My confusion turned into anger. I tried talking to my classmates, but only a few talked back. I didn’t know why. I knew we spoke differently sometimes, and most kids had to stay after school for day care when I left with my mom in her brown ’77 Chevy Nova. Overall our cultures did not resemble one another’s.
One day I just left. I couldn’t take it. I had no friends, no one to talk to, and I was just a scared little girl who wanted nothing more than to fit in. I left the playground and went through the big tan iron gate and Freedom Boulevard. I crossed some busy streets that day all by myself. I’m glad my mother taught me to always cross at the corner and wait for the sign to turn white and signal “walk.” About half way home some construction workers noticed me and made sure I was okay and knew where I was going. I assured them I had everything under control. I think that was the first time I was actually confident in kindergarten. After I got home my mom seemed shocked to see me so early and I told her we had a half day. She was not pleased to hear I walked all the way home. Plus, she knew I lied. So she called the school; they didn’t even know I was missing.
Later in the year I was pushed face down on the black top. I had some wounds on my forehead and knee, but no clue what I did to deserve that. The kid received no punishment. I was also kicked up against a wall in front of my teacher’s door. I ran inside to ask for help; she
exclaimed, “I’m busy. Go ask a Yard Duty.” The Yard Duty told me to ask my teacher for help. That’s what it was like being the only white girl in my class. Being picked on and hurt was no fun and neither was being the minority in Watsonville. So I believe I do understand what it is like to be a racial minority, and it is hard. I was able to deal with it at age six; by getting through each day no matter what hurtful things were said or done to me. I did what I needed to do without anyone getting in my way. I believe everyone is capable of this.
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