I was born in prejudice in 1957 and my world was black and white, no color on faces other than rosy cheeks blushing from the icy mountain wind.
I never saw the black ones, never, for they lived in one small section of town called
N....r town; that was what everybody called it, only they said the bad name; I know its a bad name now; Back then it was just a part of my life+it was their name, just like my name is Human;
Their name was something else in that town.
I never saw them in town back then; It was just understood that they stay put in their shanties with yards where no green grass grew;
No colour for them either.
No colour came to school or the churches where we prayed; I used to wonder if there were children in those shanties they had made. I used to wonder if they laughed or had a Christmas tree; Did they belong to Jesus too or was Jesus just for me?
It never made much sense to a little girl like me; I prayed and obeyed though I didn't understand most of what I would see. I just accepted what I was told until I was around 12 years old, starting a new school up north, nervous and so shy.
The school was so big, and the black ones even came to that school. Nobody wanted to be my friend;
She's just a hillbilly, I would hear over and over again as tears rolled down my face and I tried so hard to be brave.
One day at lunch as I sat alone. A black girl came and sat by me; Side by side, black and white for the first time+I felt nervous, I'm ashamed to say - but she smiled and was so kind to me. She seemed to understand how alone I was feeling, how different I was feeling, and we became best friends. I asked mom and dad if a friend could sleep over.
Enthusiastically they agreed I forgot to tell them my friend was black. To me she was just my friend, filled with colour and light. She rode the bus home with me the very next day. We were talking and laughing, so excited. I wanted to show her my new guitar that I hoped to learn how to play.
I opened the door and we went inside of that house filled with prejudice, (somehow I'd forgotten) but I saw the look on their faces that day. No words of welcome for the one who had welcomed me.
Out!- he yelled. No N....r is allowed in this house not now - not ever, and he said the word - that horrible word, and I wanted to die- my heart was aching for my friend.
I now knew what real hate was and I wanted it to end. I pleaded and begged him to let her stay but he said no and no longer did she want to. Our friendship ended that day.
Her daddy saw us drive up and drop her off without a single word. My heart was breaking and I made a vow that prejudice would never enter this heart of mine or one day touch the hearts of my children.
Now the veil is lifted
and my eyes are open wide;
I no longer hide behind
prejudice and lies;
I speak the truth loudly
and stomp on the hate;
Love is a gift
and it is never too late;
Love is one colour
That colours the world
Love will determine our fate.
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