Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Since being back "home", close to the area where I grew up, I've noticed some changes in lifestyles and population and how kids interact. I like these changes, and wish things had been like this when I grew up here...

Wwwwaaaaaaaayyyyy back when, when I was in school, our school, like every other school we competed against was white. There were zero kids of color. Don't get me wrong, I am not bragging or anything, that's just how it was. We did compete against one school with ONE black kid.

He was a novelty, because we seldom saw anyone of color anywhere. Seriously, we would all watch him on the basketball court simply because...well, because he stood out from the crowd! And, we all liked watching him because he was unique. Poor guy...

It was so bad that when I went to college, I did not know how to act around anyone who's skin was darker than mine. (Shut up you people who are thinking "Shell, everyone is darker than you, you pale, glow-in-the-dark skinned girl.") I didn't know what to say, and I had a hard time understanding the urban black dialect. Sometimes, I wondered if they spoke the same language that I did!

But now, there's lots of color at area games. Black, white, brown, green, purple. It's a good thing, the kids there today are learning that color doesn't matter, it's the person who matters. So, it's all good. In fact, the kids don't say "that black girl, or that mexican guy." They say, "Bob, or Jose or Keesha, or that boy, or that girl."

Another difference, was that we all spoke English! There were some Mexican families in all our neighboring towns, but none could speak Spanish--they all had been here for a long time and spoke English. Now, most of our little communities have a more significant Mexican population.

The last thing I've noticed since being back in this area is that the kids in different communities interact more and my kids are friends with kids who live in other towns and go to other schools. That was unheard of in my day. You didn't talk to anyone from another town or school unless you had the misfortune to be related to them.

Isn't that sad? We were so isolated. I know it affected me, because when I went to college, not only did I not know how to talk to someone who's skin was darker than mine, (shut up, shut up, shut up) but I didn't know how to talk to anyone--especially guys. I still have trouble talking to someone I don't know well. And, I know it's because we were so isolated.

I'm glad to see these changes. It's good that kids don't see color first. It's good that kids have friends and contacts in other communities, it's good to be exposed to different cultures. These changes, I like.

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