Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Another Race Has Changed My Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   "What do you mean, the bus driver can no longer speak to us," I screamed to one of my teachers.

You see I was on a school trip to Pennsylvania. Mrs. Adams (name changed) had everything planned out: a hotel, a nice bus, everything. What she had not planned on was having a bus driver of a different race. This bus driver was a black man named Glenn. Glenn was in his early forties and, after a few conversations, he seemed like an intelligent person - a great person. But my opinion and openness, I soon learned, weren't shared by all.

During our four-day trip, I could feel the tension increasing. There were many comments I heard while sitting in the back of the bus. One I remember clearly. Brad, a senior, said: "What's wrong with this stupid nigger? Doesn't he know he's the bus driver and he's supposed to clean up after us?" Brad said this because Glenn had asked everyone to be careful not to spill food or drink in the bus. The chaperones never heard these comments because they were sitting in the front, having their own conversations.

There were a few who were upset by the racism, but they never discussed it with Mrs. Adams for fear she would think they were exaggerating or just trying to start trouble with their peers. Mrs. Adams didn't want to believe that her "perfect" students could be so cruel.

As tensions grew, so did my anger. On Sunday night I went to talk to Mrs. Adams after she announced to Glenn that he was no longer supposed to speak to us. I can't recall exactly what was said to me except that everything was Glenn's fault and I had no right to get involved. This made me even more angry. I went down to the lobby to tell Glenn what had been said. At this point I was so angry I was in tears. Glenn tried to comfort me and told me to relax. After talking with him for an hour, I decided I was so emotionally drained that I should try to get some sleep, after taking some aspirin.

When I reached my room, I discovered my roommates were having a party. I really wasn't in the mood, so I went to the nurse (who happened to be Mrs. Adams' roommate). She gave me some pills, and told me to sleep in a chaperone's room, which I did.

At breakfast, Mrs. Adams told me that I was no longer permitted to talk to Glenn. Later I found out that Mrs. Adams said she thought Glenn was being too friendly toward me, and she "feared for my safety." This brought back my anger, even more, which caused me to break down mentally.

I learned a lot about life on that trip. I feel I grew into more of an adult. I was very unstable for weeks, but now I speak of how racism can really hurt those involved. Glenn got a bad impression of my school and I am ashamed of my classmates who were involved in the racism. But I would also like to thank the people who agreed with me and tried to support me through this whole ordeal. Another race has changed my perspective of life forever.




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






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

hopeless dreamer said...
Dec. 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm
dat iz amzing keep it up i feel ur understanding
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback