Proud of My Ethnicity | Teen Ink

Proud of My Ethnicity MAG

By Anonymous

I am an African-American female. I have grown up exposed to people of many ethnicities and have been taught to accept all. I have had the amazing opportunity of attending a high school that is diverse ethnically and socio-economically.

Despite the fact that my school is diverse, this is not represented in my advanced classes. This racial divide has not affected me academically; I maintained a challenging course load and high honor roll status during my four years. However, I was affected socially by the underrepresentation of students of color in my AP classes.

Some minority students thought that my achievements meant I betrayed my ethnic identity. They had a skewed opinion of what it means to be black and could not imagine that a black student could speak properly and be in “smart” classes without “acting white.” I was constantly confronted with the statement that I acted white. I could not understand why they considered hard work and determination to succeed as white traits. It was hard, at times, to ignore the hurtful comments of peers. I was merely being myself and trying to achieve my goals. I loved my identity and was proud of my ethnicity. It was extremely hurtful for people to judge me without even knowing me.

Many of these students grew up in households where educational excellence was not stressed in the same manner as it was in mine. Additionally, the media often portray people of color as gangsters, entertainers, and athletes, not as intelligent people or scholars. Beverly Tatum in her book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, writes, “Blacks have historically been characterized as less intelligent than whites … The dominant group assigns roles to the subordinates that reflect the latter’s devalued status … To the extent that the targeted group internalizes the images that the dominant group reflects back to them, they may find it difficult to believe in their own ability.” This realization made me want to work even harder in my classes.

As my course work became more challenging, I always thought of the offensive stereotype that African-American students could not be as smart as white students. It made me work harder. I wanted to show my fellow students of color that they too could challenge themselves intellectually and prove to themselves (and others) that these negative stereotypes are false.

I learned not to change my values because of others’ influence. I know now that it is important never to lose sight of your goals, even if others disapprove of them. If I had taken the hurtful remarks to heart, I might not have continued to work hard and achieve academically.

I have tried to be a leader. I have assisted other students in the classroom when they needed help. I have been co-captain of the girls’ soccer team. I have been a voice for the student body as its president. Now I want to become an advocate to help minority students achieve in the classroom. Everyone should have the same opportunity to succeed academically, no matter who they are.

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This article has 13 comments.

on Sep. 22 2017 at 9:48 pm
Wiseman125 BRONZE, Granite Falls, Washington
3 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings-always darker, emptier and simpler" -Friedrich Nietzche

Why should you care what other people think? You're a black woman that acts "White". Who cares? Be yourself and say screw them. It doesn't affect you in any way what they think.

on Mar. 2 2012 at 9:36 pm
Shinjitsu-san SILVER, Beavercreek, Ohio
5 articles 2 photos 2 comments

You have just described my life. I am an African-American student in a predominantly white school as well, and I face many of the same problems. However, rather than my white classmates feeling that I act white or cannot achieve as much as them, they say the stupidest things, words filled with prejudice and racism, all without knowing. They think being African-American is about having a "black" name, or not speaking proper English, or being like one of those actors/singers/dancers they see on television. When I come near, they don't even try to silence themselves. It's like saying such things around me (or at all) is ok. After all, I'm not one of "those" people.

This was a  brilliant piece. I'm sure you'll make a difference in the world, so that fewer kids like us will have to go through something like this. 

on Jun. 16 2011 at 1:47 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

We're a predominantly an Asian/Indian/White school...

on Jun. 16 2011 at 1:47 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

I once got a B+ on a Science quiz and the class started yelling Asian happens to people all the time. 

Joele12 said...
on Jun. 12 2011 at 7:49 pm
Theat is correct. I have the same problem. But you have to understand where they come from. physco diagnose them. If you were born in the ghetto and were raised as they are, would you criticise without thinking about it? they do as they were told. but i'm not agreeing with what they do. I strongly disagree. i'm studying japanese and i'm of a mixed black denmark asian and jew background, but my skin is "black" i don't speak "gangsta" so they just call me the oreo black on the outside white on the inside, it's really shameful but i ignore them or i just make them look stupid( which i know is wrong, but i have to retaliate, right?) well i loved you're post i wish i could express myself as well as you do. you have an extraordinary talent use it wisely. 

nnc97 said...
on Apr. 29 2011 at 10:22 pm
 I am an African American teen that attends a white school. I attend a predominantly black church and have many black friends. I am always judged according to my 4.0 grade point average, or my success in taking the ACT. I am always being judged on the way I talk or read. It is often said that I dont accept the fact that I am black. This false statement/ opinion is what makes me push myself into being successful. I want for not only the black race, but also all other races and ethnicities to know that success can be achieved by a black teenager, who does accept, love, cherish her ethnicity.

on Mar. 18 2011 at 8:24 pm
Lissabelle116, ASHVILLE, Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
In my school if an asian student doesn't do an extra credit, or doesn't turn in an assignment. people call them "un-Asian"

on Sep. 30 2010 at 3:26 pm
deus-ex-machina14 BRONZE, Stewartsville, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 439 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There are two main tragedies in life. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." -Oscar Wilde

Exactly! Prejudice is an epidemic, no doubt.

HuntressEmma said...
on Sep. 29 2010 at 3:21 pm
I hate it when people are oriented around one ethnic culture and have no respect for others. I think other ethnics are extremely interesting and try to learn all I can about them. Truly I am angered about this and racist jokes.

on Sep. 21 2010 at 3:58 pm
deus-ex-machina14 BRONZE, Stewartsville, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 439 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There are two main tragedies in life. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." -Oscar Wilde

All ethnicities have the capability of being intelligent, caring, and beautiful no matter who, what, where, why or how. It's a disgrace whenever anyone says otherwise.

on Jul. 11 2009 at 10:13 pm
peacelove041792 BRONZE, Reseda, California
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
I go through the same thing with my peers.

They constantly label me as being "white washed" because I carry myself with propriety, and I choose to advance instead of playing the victim.

Finally, someone I can relate to :)

sunshine101 said...
on Feb. 20 2009 at 3:57 am
Hi i am from Asia and i get what you were writing was so true everyone thinks that if your from Asia then your going to be super smart.Everyone gets bad marks sometimes but in my schools if you get one bad mark they will gasp. If you are in drama and pretend that you made a mistake e.g you drank a chemical because you thought it was a drink people will laugh and you won't understand why until they say "because they're asian"

on Oct. 9 2008 at 6:17 pm
I luv this article.....For homework i have 2 choose an article n i chose this one.....I agree with everything Kalila H. had 2 very intelligent but because i am of the African-American desent people think otherwise.....well whoever thinks that way is wrong nd i am PROUD!!!