I threw my hat into the ring for candidacy for a full-time position. The stars seemed to be in alignment when this job opportunity was presented to me not once, but twice, even after I shunned the thought of leaving my current position to pursue something new. I had the support from friends, family, and mentors and with my supervisor’s blessing, I walked into the interview room comfortable, prepared, and was so at ease that I left the interview grinning like the Cheshire Cat with my interviewers laughing and embracing me as I left. This was my time! I started perusing places I could live and fantasizing about what my world would be like with a salary and benefits. I felt like I was finally on my way to starting what I believed to be at the time, my life as an adult, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of being on my way. I wasn’t sure where I was on my way to, but I sure as heck felt as if this moment would propel me one thousand steps forward.
I had a schoolgirl crush on a little boy in my class and in true elementary school fashion, news spread rather quickly to him. I was at the skating rink with a group of friends because that’s how we celebrated our birthdays then, and his friend skated up to me, looked me in the eye, and offhandedly spoke the words, “Insert name here doesn’t like you because you’re black.”
As he said those words so nonchalantly, the words pierced through my heart like a needle. In my third grade brain, the words rattled around my head as I thought, “I’m black? What does that mean? There’s different skin colors? Why is that bad? What’s wrong with ME!?” As a young girl born to an African-American father and Filipina-Caucasian mother, I was never taught to think twice about the color of someone’s skin.
As soon as I got back from the party, I ran upstairs to my mom,who I distinctly remember was doing laundry, cried in her arms and told her what happened. She, of course, knew that th...