The first time I ever realized that the "N" word was bad was in second grade. I had moved from an all white town to a college town. My family was originally from rural, South Arkansas but had been living in Northern Arkansas for a few years. I was the only one born in that part of Arkansas. And I would be glossing over things if I didn't mention that my family (extended and some close) were bigots. I'm not proud of this fact, but that's what it is, a fact.
I was new to this school and was out on the playground with my friends. We were doing Eeny many meeny moe when I inserted the "N" word and everyone gasped. I stopped and innocently asked, "what?" "You said ______." I realized that day that it was a bad word. When I saw my parents after school, I brought up my new found enlightenment. It didn't go over well for a 7 year old to be correcting her dad. I think that was the beginning of mine and my dad's strained relationship. And I know that we can't pick our parents, nor would I pick anyone different, but we can make decisions for ourselves. I do love my parents and am thankful for all the good things they have taught me in my life. I'm sure no one has perfect parents and I'm proof that it is difficult to always be the best parent.
In 7th grade English class I met a new friend. Her name was Tiffany and she was Black. We sat by each other and really enjoyed each other's company. One day the teacher gave all the students "money". She had written words on the chalk board like wealthiest person, smartest person, tallest, strongest, etc. She had written all kinds of values on the board and we were to bid for them. The one I bought was "to rid the world of prejudice." I remember Tiffany saying to me,"I'm glad you bought that one." Yes, Tiffany, I wish I could really buy it to this day some 27 years later. I've struggled with the notion that someone is better than someone else simply because of color.
I voted for Obama. I am a registered Republican but I like the party of years ago. The party of Lincoln, our greatest president. I am for responsible government but a government that treats everyone like the valuable person they are. I am for peace, another reason I voted for Obama. I like McCain but I feel like we would have continued to waste lives and money in Iraq longer if he had been elected. I feel like those innocent Iraqi lives are valuable, too.
It did not matter to me that Obama is Black or mixed-race. He just seemed like the right person. But for those people who have dealt with prejudice because of their color, I'm happy for you this day. I'm happy for my children, too. I hope this is a new day for us all--A day to rid the world of prejudice.