Racism Experienced Through Affiliation

When I was 13-14 I lived in America for the first time since I had left it, when I was 11 months old. I was really excited, as I had lived overseas in various strange countries until then.

While there my first friend was made in a interesting manner. I was sitting at the computer, cursing my dial up connection as usual. A knock came at the door, and I opened it to find a young black woman standing there. "Wanna come out biking with me and some guys?" she asked.

Previously, I had never lived anywhere that someone who spoke english was only a doorbell ring away. This was a very strange situation for me. The moment drew out for about 5 seconds, and then I shrugged and said yes.

Thus began a great friendship with her, one I still cherish to this day. I made many friends through this young black lady, and many of them were of varying ethnicities. Unfortunately at the time I was living in the panhandle of Florida, and everyone who was "pure white" as we called it, spoke with a deep southern accent, which admittingly I never got the hang of understanding.

So I made good friends with many blacks, a few latinos. I myself am half Spanish and Half american, though I look (think and talk!) all cracker except for when I'm in the sun for a week or two, in that instance I get very dark. I made no show about my ability to speak Spanish flawlessly, but somehow it spread.

At school we had around 1000-2000 students. This is a big thing for me, because previously on overseas bases the most a school EVER had was around 400 students (grades 7 through 12!). And I do mean ever. Mostly it was around 100. And so, with my choice of friends, most of the school absolutely hated me.

"Spick! ****** lover! *****" were some of the nicer words thrown at me. On bases overseas there was several people of many different races, a huge mix of everything, so I had never encountered this before.

Needless to say, I was shocked. People I would normally get along with would shun me when they realized I hung out with the "black crowd". It was mind boggling to me. My good friends were black sure, but I did not dress in the same manner as them, or speak exactly the same slang as then (though eventually through constant exposure I did pick up some).

Yet they shunned me for the simple fact that my best friend was a charming young black lady. In time I just accepted this fact and thought to myself  "if they really feel that way, I really shouldn't even bother with them".

Remember, this was totally new and alien to me. I spent quite some time trying to "convert" some of my white friends who hadn't totally abandoned me yet, but felt leary about my black compatriots. It was all for naught, and I finally learned and gave up the battle.

Not saying that I had no white friends, I did have plenty. Those plenty were also the ones who turned their noses up at the rampant racism, and had no compunctions about hanging out with people of other ethnicities. In the long run I am very happy I never got accepted into those "cliques" of people who shunned and abused me because of the color of friends I had. Even when in trouble with the groups of white men (this was in fact a serious problem) who were adamantly against blacks, I always had "backup" with my own friends.

All in all, it was a very enlightening yet saddening experience.
lefty lefty
18-21, F
2 Responses Sep 22, 2006

I stopped reading your story when I saw the word "cracker". I find it very hypocritical of you to write about racism yet make a racial comment. what people fail to realize is just because you experience racism doesnt make it okay for you to say things too. Oh yea and NO I'm not white.

Yes, very sad! And, a very typical welcome to the United States! Even people who live here don't think this type of **** happens. I'm glad you are the person you are and never let any of the IGNORANCE taint your morals! Kudos to you!!!