**This seems long because it is**
The 40 year of history of MY Skin
My skin got the very 1st home I ever lived in, burned to the ground by the KKK.
My skin brought me ridicule from Hispanic, White & Black people ALL OF MY LIFE.
My skin was the reason I was a “monkey” or “left in the oven too long” or “Buckwheat” until I became old enough to realize those things weren’t funny.
In kindergarten I was attacked by an 8th grader because of my skin.
It brought me snide remarks and side eyes from the day my moms home was burned down until I left my city. The city that taught me what true segregation is.
We moved all over Chicago and my skin limited my mother from getting apartments as they found excuse after excuse to change their minds about renting to us when seeing me.
We were restricted to specific neighborhoods based on my skin.
My skin had me threatened by a grown man when we tried to escape and move to Carol Stream and almost got me expelled because I took brass knuckles to school out of fear of him in 5th grade.
It caused “go home nigger” to be spray painted on our garage when I lived with a brother & sister at one of my 2nd fathers houses (long story)
It caused me to not be able to visit him at some of his homes. The worst being in Canaryville.
My skin almost got me and my brother killed for trying to play basketball in the “wrong” parts of the city (wrong being Black, Mexican, White, Puerto Rican. Etc…) or being called niggers while playing basketball at Marquette Park.
My skin had me terrified when a KKK march rolled straight down the street in route to Marquette Park back when that was a normal occurrence.
My skin got me sneaking to my friends house down side streets because there was a racial war in hs that had Mexicans vs Black gangs and he almost was beaten to death with bricks by Latin Kings.
My skin made it so that I could go to my White Sox games but risked being beaten like Lenard Clark because Comiskey was in Bridgeport.
Teachers said racist things, police stopped me and threw me in the backs of squad cars and patty wagons. Dropped me off by Science & Industry when they picked me up on 59th & Artesian and made me walk home. Mexicans broke my car windows with bottles while driving with my father, I had to take specific routes when going to school from the Southside to the Northside.
My skin made me 100% convinced that school didn’t matter, because people on TV and Black “leaders” kept reminding me that I had no chance at success…So I dropped out…All because of the assumptions based on my skin. I was slowly being conditioned that this was a normal life.
My skin made me think appeasement was a path-Smile! Then militancy-WTF You lookin at? Then ultimately I realized that it wasn’t my skin at all. It was their minds.
Yes I was facing more obstacles, I think back at the nonstop racism from every angle that I faced, & now know for a fact that I am who I am because of my skin. Since birth, I’ve been molded to be strong, brave, calculating, well read, statistic studying, truth seeking, ultra self reliant, and the hardest working person you will ever meet. Could it have been easier if not for my skin? Of course! Would I be me without it? Would I be a political junkie? A Rand Objectivist? A well traveled adult trying to lead a family down unchartered territories based on where I’m from?
My skin is a sign of strength of achievement, overcoming nonsense, and finally success which can only be judged by ones own level of true happiness. It’s never been my skin that was the problem. It’s made me EXTREMELY opinionated because I know for a fact that my skin, in fact, held me back. It also empowered me to fight through it like a pitbull on a choke collar, completely unfazed and experience a strength that very few have.
Superman has always been my favorite hero because every time I think of Clark Kent finding a phone booth, I think of the day I decided that I had to go back and finish HS.
I changed my life, not because of my skin, but because I had people that needed a better example in my family. Cousins, sisters, a former brother and even neighbors. I felt a responsibility to show them that you can be successful. I chose beautiful places to live in and invited them over to see the alternative. I got raise after raise through backbreaking work and called names during that climb to show them that the harder you pull, the further away you can get from that oh so beautiful, but ROUGH city. I’m not ashamed of my upbringing, not embarrassed, I’m actually proud, because I know what my skin has done for me, mentally. It beat me down, to raise me back up.
It causes me to not respect a man who knowingly uses his color to give up.
I will continue to use facts for those who, I feel, don’t understand how great Black, White, and Hispanic skin can be and will ALWAYS be contrarian when I see that personal responsibility could’ve avoided a situation. We have to be responsible in order to hold others accountable/responsible. When I get called racist names by Black or Hispanic people I laugh, because I know I’ve seen more and been through more that 90% of them. They have no standing to call me anything. They are zeroes.
My skin gives me confidence that I can do anything.
What’s yours do for you?