My Best Friend Essay, Research Paper
At the age of seven years old, I met my first best friend. This was before I even knew the meaning of the word racism. He was about the same age as me, and he lived next door to my house. My mother was the first person to tell me about him. She told me that the people moving into the house next to ours had a child around my age. I couldn?t wait to meet him. At that age, I never anticipated how this new friend would change my life.
Growing up outside a large city was great. My family lived in a three story Victorian-style home over looking the city in the distance. My next door neighbor was an elderly woman around the age of eighty. After the death of her husband, the elderly woman decided to sell her eight-bedroom home, and move to Florida to live out the rest of her limited life. A young couple moved in to the newly vacant home within a week. The couple had four children, one of which was my age. My mother encouraged me to introduce the boy my age to the other children in the neighborhood. I accepted her encouragement, and promptly walked to my new neighbor?s large front door. After knocking on the door, I was greeted by a young black boy. He we told each other our names, and then agreed to play two-hand touch football. As the game went on, I noticed other neighborhood children coming towards us. As they approached, I asked them if they would like to join our game of football. After a period of uncomfortable silence, they declined, and walked away. At the time it shocked me that the kids didn?t want to meet the newest member of our neighborhood. It never occurred to me that it was due to the new kid?s skin color. Now it reminds me of how Greg Williams must have felt as he was rejected by his peers for participation in games. In Life on the Color Line, Greg Williams talks about how he confronted this kind of racism everyday of his life. This was the same racism that I saw as a kid in my quite suburb town. It didn?t make sense to me at the time that kids didn?t want to play with other kids, and it still doesn?t make sense to me. Why will kids turn away from kids that are different from them? When I was young it confused me that the neighborhood children would naturally not want to play with my friend just because he was black. Greg Williams faced the same questions as a kid that I tried to solve. It didn?t make any sense. If all kids have a natural instinct not to play with black children, then why didn?t it effect my decision? These are all questions that I tried to solve at the age of seven.
Life on the Color Line reminded me of the things that my black neighbor went through as a child. I spent everyday with my black friend, and I was there to witness the cruelty that children can inflict. My friend had a crush on a young girl, and he tired everyday to get her attention. One day the other children saw my friend trying to talk to this girl. Later that day, the girl was treated to a dose of her friend?s ability to ignore her. She became very upset, and pleaded with her friend to explain why she was treating her this way. Her friend said that she was acting this way because she saw her talking to that ?colored? boy. This event is similar to the event in Life on the Color Line when young Greg tries to become friends a young girl that he likes. What does it matter what color your skin is? This question haunted me as a child. As I grew older, my understanding about racism would expand.
At the age of thirteen my best friend moved away from our quiet suburb town. We had been through a lot together, and it saddened me to see him leave. He had helped me to see how badly people can treat each other. Without him I might have grown to feel that it is okay to treat black people differently. He showed me how to turn away from a situation instead of using violence to try to solve it. My friend moved away, and we have never communicated to each other sense that day. Even without his presence, I still follow the lessons that he taught me about equality.
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