Black and White | Teen Ink

Black and White

April 1, 2010
By eRiCa1304 GOLD, Sarasota, Florida
eRiCa1304 GOLD, Sarasota, Florida
10 articles 1 photo 11 comments

I learned the proper way to use a knife when I was seven. I learned how to use a gun when I was nine. By the time I turned twelve, stealing had become a pastime to me, and one I was gifted at. Once I started on my period, one of the older girls helped me pick the right tampons that I needed. I lifted them from the store.
Some people say that kids who grow up on the “wrong” side of town will never amount to much, and that we only contribute to the problems our world faces. But the people who easily say those things have never lived on the opposite side of town. They’ve probably never even been to it. Coming within a ten mile radius of us nowadays is considered charity work for them.
I’m sixteen now, and sure, I’ve witnessed my share of violence in the streets, the alleyways, and the parks. I’ve seen drugs of all sorts, I’ve seen people do some crazy things because of alcohol, and I’ve seen more tattoos than the treasury has gold.
As for those politicians, do-gooders, and general members of the upper class, they don’t know us. All they can see through their five hundred dollar color contacts is chaos. But it’s not chaos to us. It’s a little thing called home.
Home to them is probably seeing everyone the same. Guess what, though? Nobody is. Take me, for example. I’ve always been told that my parents were happy, respectable, and caring people. Too bad I’ve never met them.
My mother was pregnant with me and her water had just broken. My dad was driving her to the hospital when a truck driver skidded across the slick pavement of an intersection and demolished the car my parents were in. My father died on impact. My mother lasted just long enough for me to be born, but couldn’t muster the strength to hold on any longer. Of course, I have no memory of them, or that day.
Before they died, my father’s best friend had been his right hand man. Ironically though, there was a huge age gap between them of around ten years. Even so, he took me in and André cared for me as his own.

Only being a young man of seventeen at the time, I can’t imagine how André felt about me when I was basically dropped on his doorstep. His loyalty to my father was strong, though, so he embraced his new title as a parent. Ever since, he’s been the one I could always come and talk to, the one who would always listen, and the one who has since become like a real father to me.
However, André grew up in the streets and having to already work three jobs to simply pay for food to feed the two of us, wasn’t able to provide me with a safer place to grow up. But that was fine. All that forced me to do was grow up a little faster and look out for myself, which given the location of my current residency, weren’t skills that I could do without.
So, what does a black neighborhood plagued with near poverty, crime, and tragedies have to do with a sense of home? We’re a community. The majority of us don’t fight with each other unless someone’s being a jacka** and we only use violence when we feel threatened. We look out for each other and we help families not our own when problems arise. Home to us is wherever someone’s got a few lawn chairs and a kick a** story to tell. Now, I bet those white do-gooders know nothing about that.
But, who am I to talk like I’m black? I’m not, by the way. So another thing home is?
Home is a black community that takes in an orphaned white child, and treats her like their own.

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