It Can’t Stay

Shelby - Idaho Falls, Idaho
Entered on February 2, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: race
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I was sitting at home, one night, when my little sister came up to me and said.

“Tristan, in my class, got suspended from school today.”

“And why was that?”

“We were getting in line for our fieldtrip, and I was first in line to get on the bus, but he made his own line. Then the teacher told everyone to go behind me, and he just cut in front. Then Pedro came over and we both told him to go to the back of the line, because we’re not allowed to cut.”

“That’s why he was suspended? For cutting in line?”

“No, he got really mad at me and Pedro, and then he said to Pedro ‘I don’t have to listen to you, you’re Mexican, and we’re supposed to hate you.”

That comment rang through my head for the rest of the day. I couldn’t believe that a Nine year old kid would say something like that.

A few weeks later, after the president’s inauguration, my friend Carmen came up to me and asked me if I knew that we were now the least racist country in the world. Again, my sister’s story rang through my head. How could we be the least racist, when even little kids are forming cliques and choosing who they want to be friends with by their skin color. What could I do?

When you’re a teenager, you see the world as something constant, something that can never change, no matter how hard you try. We see ourselves as a victim of this great immovable obstacle, when we really are victims of our own actions.

I asked my friend what she thought about racism, and I told her my little sister’s story. She said that racism will always be present, will always taint our thoughts. But I believe it won’t. I believe just because someone is a different skin color, doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. I have friends from all over the world, even the other side of the Pacific, in Japan! None of them cared about my skin color, and I didn’t either. I believe racism won’t be around much longer. But, it’s still here. We can save our own, but we can save others as well.

From Shelby Blackburn, a person of Earth.