I had a lot of trouble understanding why race was important when I was younger. I remember thinking, “what’s the big deal?” and “did I come out on the losing end?” In fact, I can remember a white friend and I pondered whether it was better to be black or white all afternoon in pre-school. Finally, we decided it was easier to be black because she suffered from sunburns and I did not.
When I first realized we might have been wrong, and that it might be harder to be black was one time in a store in elementary school. The woman followed me around the whole time I was there, and I heard her mention to another associate “make sure you watch that girl.” I was shocked. She didn’t seem to care about the other kids I was with, and I hadn’t done anything wrong. I told my friends about it after and we all realized solemnly what had happened.