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Personal Narrative: I Was Black

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I didn’t know that I was Black until the fifth grade. I mean, I always knew that I was Black as in the Black slash African American box I poorly shaded in every year on the CST and free lunch applications; but, I didn’t know know that I was Black.
It was during a passing period I had between Physical Education and Science to pee that I realized what my race was. Like hundreds of times before, I entered the dimply sunlit restroom connected to the cafeteria of my elementary school; but, this time, instead of exiting the restroom, after washing my hands, I decided to look at my reflection. And, in that restroom’s small, scratched up mirror, I, for the first time, saw myself — or, at least, I finally saw race.
Initially, I didn’t connect my reflection to my body. I remember searching for myself in that mirror, literally looking amongst the faces meticulously transferring bobby pins from lips to hair, and sealing unraveling braids with ligas for me. Now, I think because 1. everyone I knew had fair, pale skin and thereby 2. I had an environmentally based conjecture of myself in my mind, I tried to deny that the dark girl standing towards the back of that restroom was myself. Challenging this, I recall raising & lowering my eyebrows, twisting & bending my
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And, in the second half of my secondary education, my search terms became more specific. Emo, Scene, and Alternative culture was popular at the time so I applied their respective WikiHow articles to how I dressed (black was key and bangs were in), communicated (poetry was my medium, silence was romanticized), and thought (life was supposed to suck) at the time. In addition, since I finally had Black peers in my classes in the seventh and eighth grade, I sought ‘how to be smart’ — still striving to be nothing like what “mainstream” Black culture looked like in 2009 and
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