The day I learned I was different

Hands  I remember when I was 6 and I had a really good friend in my class. We always played together and talked, we were very close.  One day her parents came to eat lunch with her and we always sat beside each other so when I got to the table she was so excited to introduce us. But I could tell that they weren’t as receiving , they half smiled and gave each other a look.   I had no clue what that look was but thinking back I know they weren’t happy about our friendship.

So the very next day I could tell she was treating me differently, no smiles no laughs. At that age most kids loan for a good friend so I was very hurt. I thought I did something wrong.  At recess I asked was she mad at me, she said no but my Mommy and Daddy said we cant be friends, I asked why? My sweet little friend took  my hand and pointed at my palm and said “If you were this color they wouldn’t care”. Then she turned my hand over and said, but you’re this color so I cant. I felt instant sadness, tears rolled down my face and she said I’m sorry and walked away.

Of course I knew that we were different colors but that didn’t matter because she was my friend. Neither of us cared about that. Her parents told her she couldn’t be my friend because of my color that was painful. I never blamed her for their ignorance but I was so hurt by it.  I felt that being black was wrong and I couldn’t have her as a friend because of it. It’s hard to even think about it fully now without crying.  It changed me.

It took sometime to embrace my “different”  and I make sure that I continue to teach my daughter that everyone is different in so many ways.  Don’t let their difference determine how you treat them, look deeper than what you see on the outside. You just might find a friend

 

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