They took it very seriously. I wanted to take it seriously, but the more seriously I tried to take it. The more they made fun of me. I eventually quit. At first I would just lie to my mom and say that I was sick and couldnt go. Then I started complaining about my ankles hurting. Then I used school as an excuse saying that I had homework to do. Finally, I just told my mom the truth.
“The other girls in tap class make fun of me. They call me names because I am not black like them.”
My moms face looked so sad when I told her. She bit her lip and looked away. Then she looked back at me and smiled. There was a tear in her left eye.
“Okay. You dont have to go anymore.”
“No. The only think I want for you is to be happy. If that class those girlsmake you unhappythen, no. You dont have to go.”
I knew it made her sad to think that I wouldnt learn like her. There werent other tap dancing studios where we lived so that place was my only shot. But these girls had ruined it for me. They had ruined it for my mom.
I sometimes wonder how good I could have gotten if I had stayed in that class. Maybe I couldve been as good as my mom. Maybe I couldve gotten on one of those shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” or something and then I would become famous.
Id like to say that things are so much easier today, but theyre really not. I have mostly black friends, but they are black friends who accept me. There are a lot of girls in high school who still have a problem with me because I am not as dark as them. I dont really have any white friends.
I wonder if it will always be like this. Will I go to college and experience this same kind of prejudice? Will I go off and get a job and there will be certain people who wont go to the water cooler with me because I am still that disappearing shade of grey?
Yes, its definitely harder being grey..