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Aurreeshae Hines: Why I Race

 

My name is Aurreeshae Hines, and I race because I want to be a part of the solution.

Growing up, in a sheltered community of a small town in Southern Indiana, I wasn’t exposed to some of the discrimination that was faced by most minorities in this country. I grew up in a town where I was one of two or three little brown faces in a class, and although I knew I looked different than most people in my class, the difference in skin tone was never relevant to me until I got to high school.

 

Once I entered high school my eyes were opened to racial discrimination that people of color face across the globe. I began to get only a taste of what our Civil Right Activist were fighting for. Although my encounters with discrimination weren’t nearly of the same magnitude as that of Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, they still made a lasting impact on the way I perceived society.

 

My peers made it clear to me that I was different, my hair went from being normal hair to “rough, different and nappy” and my name went from being unique to “too long and ghetto.” They also began to try and give me validation by saying “I

talk or act white so it’s okay” or “You’re smart, for a black girl.” As a freshman in high school I never said anything about it, to me they were my friends and those were compliments. I should be happy that they accept me despite my hair and skin color, right?

 

It wasn’t until sophomore year that I realized the answer to that question was “no.”  My sophomore year began in 2012, and that was also the year that an unarmed teenage boy in Florida was gunned down by a neighborhood watch man, who claimed he was threatened by a boy wearing a hoodie carrying a bottle of lemonade and a bag of skittles. This boy’s name was Trayvon Martin, and this case is still one of the most