Growing up black

Growing up can often be quite painful. For me it was complicated by being black in a largely white community. Most of the time the combination of the two drove me to insecurity. I was a wallflower. I'd never exert myself or speak up or dare to be visible. Besides being gangly and suffering from most teen-age relationship problems, I felt people wouldn't judge me on the basis of me. They saw me first as black, which often put me in a painfully difficult position. Then they'd see me as a teen, which was bad enough by itself.

I finally made it through my teens, but I was still black, and the problems associated with it grew closer to me and more disturbing. No matter what I did or how I dressed or talked, people always categorized me as different—not different good, but different bad. I desperately wanted to be thought of as equal, and by now I wasn't quite sure that I was. It took a while to figure out that I was.

Prayer: a parental responsibility
October 23, 1978

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