Story highlight: Anaya

Story highlight: Anaya

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Anaya Johnson, Houston Academy for International Studies

Story from the Overcoming Bias topic

Hi,

My name is Anaya Johnson, I’m a French- Egyptian American, and I’m currently a freshman ready to head to my sophomore year. I was raised with many opportunities set before me and was sent to the best schools that would impact my future the most. I was raised in an average suburban home and did everything any average child did.

As I’ve grown I’ve realized I’m not the same as every other child. I was born with a stereotype tattooed on my head. I was either labeled by the way I acted or the way people saw me from afar. I was labeled as white-washed for my proper grammar and the way I dressed or as ghetto from the people afar,  all they saw was my skin color and 4c curly hair. These labels usually don’t affect me anymore since I’ve heard so much. It’s not that they hurt my feelings, but that people would label me, without getting to know the real me. When I’m around my friends and family, I can be my true self, without a label. I’ve grown to learn it’s just the world we live in. People will label you as so many hideous things from just looking at you, they already have their mind made up about the way you act, and affiliate yourself with others. Don’t give people a label before getting to know them. You might be surprised by the outcome.

    My most fond memories having to do with how I act and how people perceive me from afar are at school and with my friends. It first started in elementary when all the kids in my class would call me and my dad, “chocolate”, “brownie”, or anything associated with the color brown. At the time I thought they were just cute nicknames, and they were, but know in the world it would racist to compare someone’s skin color. Another time is when I was in middle school and some kids would call me an “Oreo”, at the time it was a harmless way to say I acted white, even though my skin was dark brown. I didn’t take any offense to it, I understood I didn’t act the stereotypical “black person”, so they “had to call me something”.
     Now today these names mean nothing to me. I understand I have a dark skin tone, and when needed to be compared; the foods chocolate and brownie, first pop into a person’s mind. And when being called an “Oreo”, I’m not particularly offended. It all depends on a person’s tone and who they are. If my friends were to say these things to me I would take it as a joke, but if a stranger or someone not close to me said any of these I would take it a little more to offense just, because I don’t know you like I know my friends. Also tone matters.

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