Sister | Daughter | Black Feminist
...every group has jokes said about them.”
I felt like a constant outsider attending predominately white schools all of my life. I managed to cope by being surrounded by my friends of color and receiving constant positive reinforcement from my parents.
While attending middle school, one of my classmates ran up to me and said that my name had been inserted in a joke told in front of other classmates. To make matters worse my name had been inserted in the punchline which was supposed to end in the word “nigger.”
I felt humiliated and my heart sank to the floor. Was my black identity meant to be the punchline of a joke?
I told my mom who, the very next day, went to the school because racial incidents had been a constant experience in my life. We approached the front office worker at my middle school and demanded a meeting with the principal. The front office worker, who was a White woman, seemed disinterested and said, “every group has jokes said about them.” Then continued by saying “Asian, Hispanic, Black, White, old, young” and reassured us that it was not a big deal.
We breezed right by her and got a meeting with the principal who addressed my concerns and reprimanded the student for the racist joke.
On that day, I learned that people will try to downplay experiences of racism and that you are your own best advocate.
My black identity is not a punchline, it is a source of pride.