Head high, age five, we stare into the crowd.
We don't see color when we're five.
When we're five, life appears as colorful as the rainbows above us.
When we're five, people are yellow when they are happy. People are blue when they are sad. People are red when they are angry. People are green when they are jealous.
Head high, age nine, we stare into a crowd.
Color finds us when we're nine, whether we realize it or not.
When we're nine the girl who would appear yellow, blue, red or green at one point in time, becomes someone who is obviously not the same as we are. She stares at us with her big blue eyes, and approaches us with a question, she asks us why our lips, our noses, our features are so immense. But we've never heard that before. We looked in the mirror everyday before she mentioned this absurdity, we had liked what we were seeing, so when this big blue eyed girl confronts us, we are stunned, we are baffled, we ask questions, we become the curious brown eyed girl.
Head confused and deterred, age thirteen, we stare down at our feet.
Racial slurs, uncomfortable realities and strange times find us when we're thirteen.
When we're thirteen we are aware that something is different. We are aware that we are not typically the shining faces on magazines. After all, we are not all tall, white, and skinny. We are aware that we have to work twice as hard to become what people will respect and revere. We begin to drown in self pity. Some of us grow red with anger, some of us grow blue with sadness, some of us decide right then and there that we will give up.
What about the rest of us?
When we're sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen. With the help of our mothers, aunts, fathers, sisters and brothers, we realize we are worthy. We realize our blackness does not define us, instead it is a beautiful part of us. Our skin built to protect us from the sun, is like our mental makeup, resilient, persistent and magnificent, just like those who have come before us.
We also realize, that it is not just us. We realize that her blue ocean eyes are her trademark. We realize that her thick curly hair is her trademark. We realize that looks do not define us. We realize that the color of one's skin is something that we receive, it is NOT something we can control. We realize that we must judge others on the "content of their character", nothing more and nothing less. We realize that true beauty lies within diversity.
When we are twenty, those of us who are lucky, we don't see color, we see people.