Hi I’m Zoe, and believe it or not, I’m just like you. Growing up was always a blast as an adopted black girl, but it made me who I am today.
Being asked why I was at certain places or how I got here and my personal favorite, my mom said we can’t be friends, really opened my eyes to the fact that racism is real. This always hurt as a young kid, but it showed me over time, who the good friends were and the families I wanted to be around were. When I was in high school I played softball, and it was one of the best things going on in my life. As always the end of a season comes and you ask your coach if you will make the varsity team. So I did. He said no, you don’t fit the mould and you don’t have the look we are going for. It was obvious, there were only fit and toned white girls or light skin girls on the team and I was a curvy black girl.
Getting a job and continuing my education were probably the easiest things out of all of this. Church was where I felt safe. My dad was the youth pastor at the church I went to and the kids were well, kids. I only got picked on because they were like family and it never had anything to do with the fact I was black. Friendships were a mix of different things. Like I’d mentioned earlier that I did have some people say they couldn’t be my friends or tell my friends that they shouldn’t be friends with a black girl. But in high-school I had girls just hate me, for no reason. There was never any explanation. But I also had a solid group of friends of all colors, ethnicities and races. My best friend who I have known my entire life, who has loved me and seen me as human her whole life is white. That was the majority of my good, close friends. We saw each other for who we were and loved and appreciated each person’s culture.
I never experienced pain like the pain when I moved. I moved from Orange County, where if people had a problem they would post it on Facebook and tell their friends behind you back. But now I live in a small town where you can never tell if the lady is gonna make a racist comment or ask you how you are and if she can pray for you. But two weeks ago I was driving in my dad’s truck on the way to a friend’s house, and as I’m driving a kid starts to cross the street. I make a full stop and wave the lady and her son on to go ahead and this lady does something I’ve never seen before. She stands right in front of my stopped car and yells and says “STOP!! YOU BETTER STOP RIGHT NOW!!! HEY! I SAID STOP!!”. The whole time I’m sitting with my foot completely on the brake, and as she walks by I hear her say “Stupid black people.” I have never wanted to cry or scream or punch something more in my entire life. The anger I felt, the hurt and pain, and the understanding of the fact that I live in California, and it is so much worse for people living elsewhere.
I guess I feel patronized when people treat me like I don’t know what I’m doing.
I want to see the church rise up and not be afraid to speak on this and give a voice to the black community. As a Christian I grew up knowing we are all equal and created in God’s image, meaning there are no mistakes. So when I see people saying that the black community needs to be gotten rid of it hurts me, because I know we have a purpose and a reason to be alive.