Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lessons on a Country Road

The biracial prism from which I view the world came starkly into focus during a holiday shopping trip with friends. On the drive to the mall, we had to pass through an area well-known as being racially unfriendly. As my friends continously stated how uncomfortable they were in this neck of the woods, I inwardly scoffed, thinking their fears were exaggerated, but as I listened to their stories of past unpleasant experiences with local residents, I realized I was mostly removed from this type of trouble. I can't relate to having a gun pulled on me during a swimming outing, having people move aside when I walk up to pay for a purchase or being concerned about who I can safely ask for directions. My tales have consisted of those who've wondered why I "talked white", taunted me on the playground with the wounding "oreo" epithet, commented on my"exotic" looks, and curiously perused my facial features as if I were from another planet. As frustrating as these encounters have been, they could in no way compare to the stings that my friends, and some of my relatives, have had to deal with. I've been naively immune to such things, and going on this shopping trip has been yet another learning experince in this ongoing school of life.

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