Fiction it Didn't Even Occur to Me Essay

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Fiction

It didn't even occur to me back then that the reason they didn't like me was because of their own prejudices, not because I was inferior in any way. I just knew that they thought I was not as dark as them and so that gave them enough reasons to make fun of me. They called me names and said I wasn't a good dancer because my mom was white. They said that you can only be a good dancer if you have two black parents -- and I didn't. My dad was black. My mom was white. And I was somewhere in the middle. Not black. Not white. Not anything that put in into some kind of group. I didn't have a group to be a part of. The girls in class could all be friends because they had two black parents -- even though most of their dads weren't even in the picture. They didn't care. Their skin color -- though some were different shades on the black spectrum -- was black. I was rather a shade of grey. And this is how I always felt. Grey. Somewhere in the middle of a real color. Somewhere in the middle of a real person. On an overcast day, which occurs a lot where I live in Middle America, I could just fade into the background never to be seen again. I could just fade away.

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It's true. My skin wasn't shiny and black like the girls in my tap dancing class. Mine was more a milk chocolate color -- more milk than chocolate, which is what gave it a grey look. My eyes were lighter than their -- again, sort of grey -- and my hair was curly but light brown. The truth is, I didn't mind the way I looked. My grandma always told me I was the most beautiful girl she had ever seen. She said I got my dad's full lips and my mom's sad eyes. She said I could maybe be a model one day. But it's sort of a grandma's job to say those things, so I never really took them to heart. I figured since she was old and not very pretty herself she would have liked to look like just about anyone else -- even grey me.

Essay on Fiction it Didn't Even Occur to Me Assignment

I hated going to tap class. I never told my mom that though because she wanted me to go. She was a great tap dancer and she liked to show me all of the pictures of her from when she was young -- tapping away. I didn't mind the actual tap dancing part, but class was horrible. The worst part was not the actual class, but it was getting ready for class in the locker area where we had to store all of our stuff during class. The teacher was hardly ever in there, so it was the perfect place for the darker girls to harass me. They asked me why I was in their class. Why didn't my mom find a white class for me to go to? Didn't I know that I wasn't wanted there? Why would a black man ever want to be with a white woman, they asked? They'd tskkkkk and shake their heads. it's just not right, they'd say. I took this as testament to the fact that I was a big mistake. And I didn't fit it anywhere.

I know that everyone says it's still hard to be black in America -- even after Martin Luther King Jr. And Rosa Parks and Malcolm X and Denzel Washington and everyone else who came before them, but, you know what? I think it's harder being half-black in America. I'm not black enough for the girls in the tap dancing class and I'm not white enough to tick the "white" box on forms. I'm not black enough to tick the "black" box either. I sometimes want to make my own little square and put "Grey" because that is a box I could definitely tick.

What am I? I never asked my mom for clarity because I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want her to know that her whiteness was a problem for me. I wonder if she ever thought about it, the fact that I don't look really anything like she does.

My mom says that I am so lucky. I have the best of both worlds. My dad's not really in the picture anymore, so I don't know what she's talking about. it's not like I have some great relationship with that side of the family. I don't go to my dad's house for gatherings where I get this great lesson in African-American culture. We don't beat drums or cook up BBQ ribs. I don't have a black grandma telling me about the days of the Civil Rights movement. I don't have black cousins wanting to hang out.

The last time I saw my dad was on my 11th birth -- five years ago. He told me he was sorry about not being around as much as he should. He explained that he and his new girlfriend get so busy with work and their two kids (whom I've never met). He said he would try to be better. That was five years ago. it's strange to think I have siblings out there that I have never met. They'd probably hate me too because they are black. They would probably take one look at me and know that we could never be seen in public together. It was so much cooler to be black.

I have my mom's family. They are my family. But they are all white. They aren't half like me. My mom's family came from Ireland, a place I have never been, but I hear that there are a lot of redheads there, which makes me think I would feel even more out of place. Mom says one day we will go. She wants to look up some cousins she hasn't seen since she was a little girl and she visited with her mom. I can only imagine what they will think of me.

Back in the day when I was in tap dancing class, there really weren't a ton of role models for me. True, there's Halle Berry who has a white mom and a black dad. But she is like a superstar. She is beautiful. She is spokesmodel for Cover Girl or something. While I'm not ugly, I'm not Halle Berry. I don't have the straight hair or the perfect white-toothed smile. My teeth, in fact, are kind of crooked, but mom couldn't afford to give me braces. None of the girls in the dance class had braces and none of them had perfectly white teeth either.

There is also Alicia Keys. She's half white and half black. But again, she is a superstar and she is enormously talented. There seems to be only one option for a half-black half-white girl: become famous and then everyone will love you and want to make you the spokesperson for something. Once you're famous and have a lot of money, you can get perfect teeth, you can straighten your hair, you can talk in interviews of how great it is to have parents that are so different. It will make me exotic. It will make the girls from tap dance class wish that they had been born this way too.

The girls in tap dance class were from poor families, probably worse off than mine. We didn't want for anything. I had new tap shoes and leotards. The other girls' tights had holes in them and their shoes looked scruffy, like they had been passed down from sibling to sibling. It was really important for them… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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