© 2013 Eric Christopher Jackson

I was shy. Reserved. Quiet. Happy to go unnoticed. Content in silence. Or was I?

Years ago, I was perceived as an outcast. Classroom to classroom. My clothes were different. I didn’t talk like (or use the language) my peers did. Soft spoken. The music I listened to was too different. I separated from the crowd. On days I tried otherwise…it eventually led to pain and frustration. So, my sentence was set in stone. I was labeled as trying to be “white.” Was I?

I never told them that the shade of my skin didn’t matter that much to me. I never told them that I didn’t need to act a certain way to truly be African-American. I never told them that falling in love with someone outside of my own race was not a shameful act. I never told them to focus more on the noun than the adjective. White people, Black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, Italian people, the list goes on and on. Different adjectives. One noun. We are all people and these adjectives, while celebrated, should not separate us.

No. I never told them. Because I was too afraid to speak.


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