Innocent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I stared in disbelief, unable to believe what had just happened. I waited nervously for a reaction from him, or anyone else. I glanced around and saw the others trying to pretend that nothing had happened, but when I looked in their eyes, I could see they were just as disturbed as I was.

It's relatively normal to see a family with mixed races, and mine is one of them. My mom is now married to an African-American guy I have known almost my whole life. My sisters and I are very used to the fact that we are white and he is black, and it is really no big deal. When it comes to our dad, though, it is another story.

One evening, my mother and stepdad brought my sisters and me back to my father's house after a fun day. We said the usual good-byes, with a kiss and a hug for everyone. My dad watched with a look of disgust. My younger sister, a child of innocence, ran out of the car and to greet my dad. She was about to walk inside with him when she realized she had forgotten to give my stepdad a hug good-bye. She turned and dashed to the car, but just as she was about to throw her arms around our stepdad's neck, my dad yelled, "Heather Joy! Don't you touch that black man!" She stopped and looked at my mom, seeming almost afraid - afraid of what to do and what was going to happen. With eyes wide with shock, Mom nodded to Heather, indicating that it was okay to hug him. Heather jumped up and gave him a quick hug, then ran inside with my dad.

Heather was only four years old. After hearing her own father saying that about someone she loved, she didn't know how to act with our stepdad. That was seven years ago, and ever since that day Heather has been scared to give our stepdad a hug or even tell him that she loves him when she is around my dad. As time passes, though, she is learning not to pay attention to others' looks or comments. (I am so proud of her!) She is realizing that family is most important and that our family will always, always be there for her.

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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