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My Cultural Storyline This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

For the last few years of my life questions like, “Are you mixed?” “Is that weave?” and “Why is my hair so straight?” have become more apparent. Now my answer depends on my mood. Some days I'm partially Native American with French descent. Other days I'm just a girl with long hair. But every time I go out until the world, whether it's at home or at school, I'm forced to see what everybody else sees: a peculiar black girl. And I don't want to be a peculiar black girl, I want to be Jay. The girl who reads and likes to laugh, but in the world we live in our ethnicity defines us, whether we want it to or not. So as a person whose skin bears the color brown, I got an image and identity I never wanted. No one wants to be seen as a travesty, but sometimes I feel like the biggest in the world. As an avid reader, there are times where people become like books. You get a sense of who they are as characters, like Esmeralda Santiago, Lizzie Bennet, Hazel Lancaster, or Malika Madison setting varies depending on the situation. Maybe the girl is trying to prove that she deserves a place in the world despite her ethnicity. Or she's trying to change the way she's perceived by people. Now the story inside is the best part of any book, because it defines everything from the characters, to the settings, to the metaphors, to the underlying principles, and even the ending. A good story is always being rewritten to fit whatever narrative, perspective, it needs to fit. A good story never really ends, but just starts all over in a different format. To some people my story will be about diversity, gender, broken systems and whatever over the top stereotypes people come up with. And that's ok because my story won't be about my genetic make-up or what I look like, but about who I am. I'm the girl who likes animals, who loves to act, who likes to write, who loves to eat Italian, and who stands up for the little guy. So to recap, my story isn’t about the black girl who's trying to defy society’s expectations, and figure out who she is in the world. My story is about a girl who's on an amazing journey and she's learning breathing things about the world, and she happens to be black.

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