Without Getting to Know Me

By “Breaking Point”

Instructor’s Note: The author of this piece says that she “wrote this essay not just as a writing requirement but to make a point.” She has made that point by sharing this piece with people in her life. She shares it here under a pen name, knowing that there must be others who feel the same.

Just because I don’t speak out in class doesn’t mean I won’t speak out in defense. If I choose not to argue don’t assume that you’ve won. People in my life, as long as I can remember, have been judging me. “ I can tell you’re smart because of your glasses.” “You don’t sound black to me.” “ You’re a nice person so I know you can’t fight.” These are just some of the things I’ve heard growing up. As a matter of fact, just recently a guy I know from psychology class told me I didn’t sound black. Even though that wasn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say that to me, it still bothered me. Back then I would have just laughed and let it seem that it didn’t bother me, but for some reason I decided to respond. I asked him what did he mean by that? And to my surprise he said, “ You know, you don’t curse and you sound all educated and stuff.” I looked at him questionably and asked, “ Are you saying black people are supposed to curse and aren’t supposed sound educated?” I must have made him feel stupid because he looked confused and didn’t say another word till the end of class.

However, now that I think about it, I went through something like that just a couple of weeks ago. In my math class, my teacher wanted to help us prepare for our final so he decided to break the class up into two teams. He said, “ I will ask each team some math questions and the team who gets the most answers correct will get extra credit!” He selected two captains and told them each to pick four people. I over heard one of my soon to be teammates say “ Pick her, she’s smart.” So to no surprise I was chosen. Minutes after the teams were picked, I thought it would be a good idea to let my team know I wasn’t good at math since we didn’t know each other well. I don’t know if they thought I was being modest or if they were just being hard headed because once the game started everyone on my team just looked at me for the answers. Although I tried my best, everyone on my team was shocked when we lost.

Although no one was more shocked by me than my cousin last Thursday when I punched her in her jaw. Now I know violence isn’t they answer, and I was disappointed in myself afterwards, but trust me if I didn’t do it someone else would’ve. Every family event my cousin always decides to come and harass people. She complains about the area, whines about the food, and never says anything useful or productive. Sometimes her attitude goes so far that we all just ignore her or talk to her about it. For some reason that didn’t work this time. When I calmly told how I felt she lashed out, as expected. Then She decided to yell at no one else but me, as usual. She figured, like in the past, I would just sit there and take. Most people like her believe because I’m nice that I am weak or that I won’t do anything to defend myself. Of course I realized that wasn’t the mature thing to do.

Whatever happened to not judging a book by its cover? Everyone says people are unique and then some turn around to mock those who aren’t like them. It’s bad enough being stereotyped by the world, but it hurts even more when my family or my friends make assumptions about me. I put up with it n middle school, and I tried to let it go in high school, however, I think I’ve been silent for far to long. I may act different and sound different from most African American people in my generation but judging me before getting the chance to really know me is disrespectful. I wrote this essay not just as a writing requirement but to get a point across. I’m the type of person who would help you and I’ll do what I feel is right but the biggest mistake you can make is to confuse my kindness for weakness.

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One Response to “Without Getting to Know Me”

  1. Oluka daniella Says:

    I understand your point of view. It is really annoying when you are stereotyped by others especially by people who are supposed to know you. Be yourself and be happy, regardless of what anybody has to say.

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