I am a somewhat impressionable, African-American teenager surviving in today’s society. I believe that we should all feel equal and free from oppressive boundaries in 2018 and for years after.
I believe that black lives matter.
There is often misconception that “black lives matter” is meant to take away the value of other races and their issues, but that's not the case. Black Lives Matter, created in 2013, was actually made to shed light on the issues of black people and the injustices they face. The world isn’t black and white. We all may seem equal on paper, but are we really as equal and united as we claim to be if there are people across America being devalued and dehumanized?
Being a light-skinned African-American teenager, young and a tad bit naive, I’ve experienced different levels of privilege and witnessed different levels of racism. People have shown different attitudes towards me compared to my darker skinned cousins and sister. The way certain people talk and look at them is something that you notice uncontrollably but wish you hadn’t seen. The level of bigotry someone can express can shape the way you think. It’s really about how you take these experiences, because you can either take them for the knowledge or for the ignorance. The knowledge will shape the way you treat everyone you meet, and the ignorance will keep you from interacting with people who don't look the same as you do. Even though I don’t want to believe that I’m given a certain privilege due to the light pigmentation in my skin, it’s something that happens a lot everyday. No one should be given a privilege for something they can’t control, the same way no one should receive discrimination, neglect, allegations, etc. for something they can’t control.
My dad, the most incredible person I’ve ever met, has told me stories of the racism he’s experience throughout his life. Things that unfortunately happened to him were caused by coworkers, employers, authority figures, classmates, and the list goes on and on. He said he blamed himself for these things happening for longer than he’d care to admit, and hopes that I won’t ever experience the racism he did. He believes that no one deserves to have hate entering their life.
I believe that one day everyone will feel as equal and valued as we’ve been told we are. I believe that one day we will stop focusing on the color of other people’s skin and learn to appreciate the stories and ideas that fill each other's minds. I believe that black lives matter.