2001-11-03 / Letters

The Past Meets The Present

The Past Meets The Present

Dear Editor;

I have been keeping something inside of me since early September, and I think it is time for me to get it out. After reading columns written by "The G-man", I was finally able to find the courage to sit down and write this letter in effort to face my pain.

What I have been keeping secret is my very first experience with racism as a 13-year old African-American girl. You see, during the Labor Day weekend, I traveled to one of those old colonial sites in Williamsburg, Virginia with my grandmother. The trip was very enlightening and I really enjoyed being with my "Nana".

One day, I got up early in the morning and went down to the hotel pool. I was swimming in the pool, and I noticed many of the white people looking at me. I could see a number of the other kids were eager to join me, but their parents were preventing them from going into the pool. I was the only one swimming in the pool. When I got out, everyone that was standing around suddenly went in. I asked my "Nana" why they acted that way, but she didn’t answer. She just hugged me. I cried because I knew in my heart what had just happened.

I have seen many situations like this in movies and television shows, but I never imagined that it would ever happen to me. I have a 95 average in school, and I have made the honor roll at my school for eight consecutive marking periods. I love all types of people, and I get along with everyone. I just wish the people who treated me that way would’ve taken the time to talk to me to truly understand who I am. In spite of what happened, I am very proud to be an African-American.

SHAREENA TOMS


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