Color Does Not Define Me

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By Lydia Achenbach, guest writer.

It’s senior Bianca Wilson’s first year at Loy Norrix, she moved to Kalamazoo this year from Big Rapids without really knowing anyone.

Wilson moved to Kalamazoo because she was going through something and wanted to have a fresh start to her senior year of high school. School in Big Rapids was hard for Wilson to cope with at times. Caucasian students would joke around a lot and make racist comments to people of color and think nothing of it.

“Sometimes students would even feel that it was okay to casually use the ‘N’ word just because they were friends with an African American student,” said Wilson.

Wilson had a hard time with people accepting her for who she is. She said people would give her a hard time for standing up for herself in different situations.

According to AreaConnect Big Rapids, Michigan is about 83.57 percent White and only about 10.63 percent Black or African American.

Wilson felt some teachers would treat her differently from other students in the class because of her color.

“Race does matter,” said Wilson.

Racism is something Wilson has dealt with almost her whole life.

“If you are not an African American you will never understand the true factor of why race still matters to people if you are black,” said Wilson.

Wilson mentions how in Big Rapids the schools were not very diverse and that angered her.

“Teachers there I feel thought that every black student was the same,” said Wilson.

Wilson has even struggled to get a job outside the fast food field.  According to Janell Ross from the “Huffington Post” the interviewee’s negative experience is supported in that 13.8 percent of black workers were not able to find employment while only 6.8 percent of white workers were unemployed. This could be because whites sometimes unknowingly hold onto and hire people for jobs within their primarily white groups of family and friends, thus keeping jobs away from their black counterparts.  Ross continues that this is not just based on archaic race ideals rather almost automatic ideas of privilege that white people assume they inherit.

Wilson realized at a very young age that a lot of people believe a person’s skin color defines who they are as a person.

Wilson figured out that racism was a problem she would probably face for the rest of her life.

“I try not to let it bother me too much, I know who I am and my color does not define me as a person,” said Wilson.

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