Week six is complete and I cannot believe how fast this summer is zooming by! I still have so much to do!
This past weekend was Pride in NYC, an amazingly fun experience. For those who aren’t familiar, Pride events aim to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate diversity, specifically in the LGBTQ community. I’ve been to Austin’s Pride Parade before, but this year I was lucky enough to march in the NYC parade with Google!
Acceptance. It’s a privilege that not everyone has.
My story: In middle school I was teased for the color of my skin; not because I’m African American but because I have a lighter complexion. Moving from Rhode Island to South Carolina, I simply wasn’t “black enough” to fit in. Suddenly I realized I talked different, had different hair, and most obviously, had different skin. I was a smart kid but all the stupid names I was called affected me. I tried talking different but it was too hard to change the sound of my voice. I tried straightening my hair but I was living in possibly the most humid region in the country –it just wasn’t happening! In desperation I realized I could change my skin color. So everyday after school I’d find the spot where the sun shined the brightest in my backyard and bake for hours. No sunscreen, no protection, I just wanted my skin to become as dark as possible—maybe then I would be accepted.
I’m not sharing this in search of compassion or sympathy, or to even compare my “struggles” to LGBT individuals’. I share this because I know I can’t be the only one who has resorted to dangerous measures for social acceptance. Whether it’s skin bleaching, baking in the sun, or trying to to hide your identity, I would never ever want any young girl or boy to experience that level of dissatisfaction with his or herself. How about we drop the drama and support each other?
So to every young boy or girl, please flaunt your integrity, confidence, and amazingness! You’re accepted here!