Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I want to begin with an incident of injustice and extreme prejudice. I was sitting my third grade classroom at my desk. We were working on an in class assignment. The girl who had been taught to hate was sitting in front of me. I had not yet begun to grasp the hate that existed with her mother. I was about to get a taste. I looked up at the chalkboard at the front of the classroom and she turned and said to me "What are you looking at bitch?" Before the shock could wear off from her comment, her hand slapped came quickly and slapped me across my shocked face. I placed my hand on my face where I could still feel the burn of her hand mark on my skin. I tried to fight back the tears that were first of sadness, then quickly burned with anger. The teacher looked up from her desk with the sound of her white hand smacking my tan skin. The teacher demanded to know what happened. She said that I had called her a bitch and that is why she slapped me. My anger turned to despair upon seeing the look on the teacher's face. She believed her! The teacher then turned to a fellow student who witnessed what happend and inquired his account. He said that he saw her slap me and call me a bitch. He insisted upon my innocence. The teacher was caught on an ethical line that I do not think had been challenge before here. She new the staff would support the white student and not care about the fact that I had done nothing wrong. She pulled me aside after the rest of the class had left for lunch. She spoke with tenderness "Danielle I think you have beautiful skin, I know you did not do anything wrong..." She got a bit teary eyed and then said "I am sorry that I cannot do anything about her." Strangely, I understood her all too well. I had no idea that this would be only the begining of a lifetime of racial injustice.

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