Black and White

Katherine - Houston, Texas
Entered on February 27, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Black and White

I believe you can’t see the world in black and white, only in shades of gray. This is a hard concept for me to follow, but it is something I tell myself everyday. It seems like the circle of life: you can be best friends with someone for years, but the second you reach middle school, that same person is the one spreading rumors about you. When I reached middle school, a transformation took over my class. I walked into class on the first day of sixth grade, expecting things to pick up where they had left off last May. I was surprised to see groups of different girls hanging out with each other and hurt when some of my old friends shouldered past me without even a hello. Girls who had been friends with each other for years suddenly became fierce enemies. Cliques formed, rumors spread, and drama became a day-to-day occurrence. As the weeks went on, I was shocked at some of the horrible comments I heard passing through the halls. One day, two girls would be the best of friends, and the next they would be arguing about something that would cause a rift between them for the next two years. I often wondered what happened to those girls I used to know in elementary school. How can I reconcile this new behavior with my old classmates? I believe that no person on this earth is perfect. We all make mistakes. I believe that we do not have the right to judge people on their actions when we ourselves are flawed. People cannot be divided into the categories of good or evil. The world is much more complicated than that. Every well-meaning person in this world makes mistakes, some grievous, and every bully, queen-bee, and wannabe has the capacity to rise above their own self-interest and do good. Why was self-aggrandizement the new norm? When a classmate criticized the way I looked, did that make her any more attractive? It is hard to accept that normally considerate girls could make ugly comments and snobby, exclusive girls could occasionally be kind and understanding. In this world, anything is possible.