Growing Up in the Deep South

Dallas - Santa Barbara
Entered on August 21, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: place, purpose, race
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Growing up in the Deep South

As a young person, I grew up in a segregated neighborhood in what is known as the Deep South. My mother having 10 brothers and sisters allowed us to mingle and grow up in a relative safe environment despite the present of Jim Crow and entrenched ideas of superiority amongst the majority white population. The children whom I was one of was never made to feel inferiority, to the contrary we held beliefs because of the light complexion of most of our Aunts and Uncles, it gave us an air of superiority. Around the time I was 8 years old, my father a military man got orders to report to Minot Air Force Base in Minot North Dakota. We essentially left an area that was mainly African-American to an area that was mainly European-American. Initially, this was a great culture shock, because the climate was cold and snow was on the ground, which I had never witnessed in person. This was exciting because I was afforded the opportunity of learning to ice skate as well as play in this new and strange substance. The speech of the children was quite foreign to me and they seem rather pale and strange. I played alone and just tried to concentrate on the good things I left behind to console me. I had good teachers over the three years I live in Minot, but will always remember the only African-American teacher I had when I was in the fourth grade. From what I can remember, she treated me mean and was ashamed because I spook with a southern accent. I do believe that this teacher who may have been from the South saw me as an embarrassment to her and therefore instead of showing me compassion, took out her feeling of inferiority on me an innocent and helpless child. Nevertheless in the long run, I became a successful student and this school district that I consider hard helped my siblings and me to do very well in our studies once we moved to California, where the school work was not as difficult.

I would say in conclusion, many things that happen in our life, although not pleasant at the time are meant to happen and have a profound effect in shaping who we are later in our lives.