We were founded on the notion of freedom, opportunity, and the promise of equality. Unfortunately, in the span of our 240 years, our nation has yet to live up to the goals of our founders. Though America is seen as the free world and there is much potential in our land and people, we inhibit our growth by feeding into social barriers, the idea of racial privilege, and perpetrating hate. This year especially, we have been challenged week after week by acts of hatred and revenge. As a country, we have yet to see the beauty in our diversity nor recognize the sacrifices we have to made to get to where we are now. As an African-American female, I am a minority within a minority. Neither my skin nor my sex defines me, yet I face limitations and struggles because of them. Judgment is a complex issue, because it stems from our many backgrounds and perspectives.
As an African-American female living in today’s society, I deserve to have these questions addressed:
- Why are there barriers in society that restrict the progress of blacks?
- Am I a mistake because I am black?
- Must I suffocate under your oppressive atmosphere to be deemed “human?”
- Am I not worthy of the opportunities and rights my white female counterpart receives?
- Every child is born with potential, but does the child’s race affect whether or not her potential is unlocked?
- Is my skin type not beautiful?
- Do you slaughter my people in the night because your majority thinks my race isn’t worthy of life?
- If I dissent from America’s standards, will society try to make a statistic out of me ?
- What does it mean to be black, America?
- Where is the representation of my culture’s history in school?
Kayla, 17, is a senior at DeKalb School of the Arts.
Want to share your voice about race in America today?
Send your original poetry, letter, story or art to firstname.lastname@example.org. And save the date for our teen dialogue, Sat., Dec. 10, 2-4 p.m. — World Human Rights Day! — at the National Center for Civil & Human Rights.