In Color

Melissa - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on January 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in red, blue and yellow. With these colors, you can make any other color. When I walk into my school cafeteria, I notice the white students are surrounded by other white students, black with black, and Hispanic with Hispanic. Then, there is always one different table. At this table, there are students of all races talking and interacting with one another.

In kindergarten, I learned that when you mix the primary colors red, blue and yellow together, you can make any color imaginable; you just have to look past the initial color. This is where my belief in these colors began. To me, they symbolize the “different” ways people can look.

My cousins, who are of middle eastern descent, are constantly called “terrorists” or “towel heads” and other degrading names everyday because of the attire they choose to wear. Little do these uninformed name callers know, my cousins were born in the US, are extremely patriotic and love this country. They wear hijabs, or veils, and cover themselves from head to toe. The only parts of their bodies that show are their feet, hands and face. This was their choice.

I never understood how strong you have to be to wear a hijab. I am a trendy young American girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. I never imagined someone could be treated differently for dressing in a different manner, until I decided to wear my very own hijab for a day.

My first stare occurred about 30 seconds after we pulled out of my Grandparent’s driveway . We were four girls wearing hijabs . A BMW convertible full of young boys pulled up next to us at the traffic light. They stared at us and started laughing. And I am not talking about the stare a group of boys give when they think a girl is pretty. This was a mean stare. A stare that made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed.

My second stare occurred a few minutes later at the gas station. Normally, when dressed in my regular clothes, it takes about 10 seconds for an attendant to come and pump my gas. That day, we waited five minutes. “Maybe this was just a busy day,” I tried to convince myself …although we were one of only two cars there.

My third stare was the most painful. We were driving on the New Jersey Turnpike when a car zoomed past us. A white man opened his window and screamed “Go back to your own country, you damn terrorists and LEARN HOW TO DRIVE.” I didn’t understand why this man could hate my cousins and me so much.

Sometimes it would be easier if everything was in black in white with no colors. We would all look the same. But, black and white is no fun. We need to look past the primary colors and realize that the primary colors can make any color and any kind of person.