This I Believe

R. - Napoleon, Ohio
Entered on February 16, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that the hand of friendship has no color. When I was a little child, I always wondered why my skin was different from everyone else’s. Was there something wrong with me? Am I sick? Am I going to die? My mom, who is white asked me, “How do you know there is something wrong with you and not me?” She told me that God created everyone special and unique, and that the stuff on the inside was what counts.

At this time in our generation, racial diversity is at an all time high. People aren’t as prejudice anymore as they used to be. Growing up, I lived in a small town with little to no racial diversity. Going to school, I was the only African American to attend. From pre-school to about 3rd grade kids didn’t realize how or why I was the only one that was different. Being so a lot of them didn’t accept me till about 4th grade.

Growing up my parents raised me to be a strong Christian ma with good morals, and who I am. They told me that no matter how good of a person I am there will always be some people who just wont like me. I never experienced any racism until my junior year in high school. My ethnic background was not a problem for any of my friends. Everyone accepted me for who I am on the inside.

During my junior year of high school I started dating a girl. We had been friends for a long time before that. Until one day she told me her father was racist. A few months after that her father made us break up. I had never been so mad in my life. I couldn’t understand why he had a problem with me.

During that week racism was the only thing on my mind. I told my parents about it and they said I can only do so much, I can be the best person I can be but I can’t change what people think about me. My girlfriend’s father didn’t want her talking to me anymore. Still angry at the world, and angry with God for making me black; God told me something through a poster in my Spanish class. The poster had a black hand and a white hand holding each other, and it said, “The hand of friendship has no color.”

Those 7 words have given me hope and motivation. I told my girlfriend about that poster and she agreed. Just because her father was racist didn’t mean she had to be too. She still wanted to be friends and she didn’t care what her father thought. Through this experience I’ve come to accept that everyone has his or her own different beliefs. It doesn’t matter what people think about me because that is something I have no control over. I do have control over who I want to become and what I believe in. A persons morals and beliefs are their strongest trait, and traits are what builds character. The hand of friendship has no color is the character I am, and that is the character who I believe in.