From an early age I was taught to be mindful of how I present myself.
Never walk in a store with my hood on.
Be careful with who I’m in public with.
Don’t draw too much attention.
Keep my pants pulled up.
Place my hands on the steering wheel if I’m pulled over.
Always be respectful, even if I’m disrespected.
Granted, these all have led me to be a very responsible person,
But I can guarantee there aren’t any white kids who have to know this.
Those kids don’t have to get “The Talk.”
Those kids aren’t told they can’t drive the car they want because they might get pulled over, because “they look suspicious” then get sent to jail. Or worse.
Those kids don’t have to change or cut their hair because “it doesn’t fit the standards of the school.”
Those kids don’t have to worry about their name being “proper” enough for the job they want.
Those kids don’t have to live with the fact that they could do everything right in life and still could be killed before their 20th birthday.
You may think these kids have it made—
But what they don’t have is pride.
No one can make me feel ashamed about the way I look.
Because that’s a huge part of why I am the person I am today.
I have the advantage, whether anybody sees it that way or not.
Being black is not something to overcome,
But something to embrace.
See my brown skin
All this melanin
Is a gift to me
Every “problem” it may come with
Is nothing I can’t handle
It’s nothing I haven’t seen before
Nothing new to me
And no one can make me feel ashamed for this brown skin.
DeAnthony Logwood is a junior at Overton High School. He has been a part of the Creative Writing Option program for three years. He is a part of the track/cross country team and is involved in JROTC and many other activities throughout school.