Personal Narrative Writing: How It Feels To Be Colored Me

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Just as Zora Neale Hurston explained in her article, “How it Feels to be Colored Me,” I never thought much about race until I was about thirteen years old during my junior high school years. As Zora stated, “I remember the very day that I became colored” (30). I, too, recall the day I realized that I was white and that it meant something more than just a Crayola color. No longer was white just a color; it was the race I belonged to with its own rules and regulations.

Prior to writing this essay, I really had not noticed the effect that race had on my life. That is, not until I was forced to look race straight in the eye. This was a very difficult thing to do because it brought back some unpleasant memories I thought I had locked away in permanent storage. I had to be brutally honest with myself and examine my inner most feelings on how race affected my life. Only then did I truly realize how race impacted my attitude, behavior, education, employment, and privileges


As a kid, I didn’t understand what race meant or its implications. I was pretty much oblivious to it. Race meant getting some kids together and running a foot race. The one who made it to the end of the block won. I never felt that I was special because of my race. Nor did I feel discriminated against. Of course, I was sheltered from race and racism. I never knew any people of color because I grew up in an all-white, lower-to-middle-class blue-collar neighborhood. I never encountered someone of another race, and my parents made sure of it. I wasn’t allowed outside of our own neighborhood block, as my mother kept a strong leash on me. Not until I was much older did I wander outside the safety net of our all-white neighborhood.

Without a choice, and after graduating from elementary school, I, like many others in the same grade, had to change schools and begin junior high school. Since I lived within one mile of school, there were no free bus rides. Like many other kids in the surrounding neighborhoods, we had to walk to school. We often heard horror stories about how the black kids would gang up on the white kids and start fights.

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