Is Chris There? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     I picked up the phone and dialed my boyfriend's number. "Is Chris there?" I asked.

"Yes, who is this?" his mom asked. I told her and she asked, "Are you of African-American descent?"

"No, ma'am."

"Well, Chris isn't allowed to date outside of the African-American community," she informed me, before hanging up.

Before this happened, I never really understood racism and how bad it could be. Because Chris's skin has more pigment than mine, I am no longer allowed to talk to him. I cannot help but think that racism should be illegal, that the government should make everyone stuff racism into a box and tie a red ribbon around it. Of course, not even the president can make people stop being racist.

I never did anything to his mother, yet she dislikes me because I am white. If I had been disrespectful to her, I could understand her not liking me, but she doesn't even know me. I would never dislike someone just because of their race.

What I experienced is just a very small example of how prevalent racism is in the world. I must admit, though, racism has gotten better over the years. The United States has progressed from slavery to internment camps to not allowing a teenager to have phone calls from his white friend.

If there were any chance that in my future I would dislike a person because of their skin color, that chance has dissolved. To most who read this, it will seem like it's no big deal, but it's a very big deal to me. Although there are bigger examples of racism, I learned a lot from my encounter, and I hope by reading about it you will, too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Yoyo96 said...
Apr. 8, 2010 at 9:40 pm
wow i can totally relate, even tho thats never happened to me. i am really white, like almost paper, and i dated a black person. i got made fun of alot, and so did he. but we didnt care. but i kno alot of african american adults treat my family differently because we are so fair-skinned. its really annoying and sometimes hurtful. thanks for this story!
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