I swear that I am in a movie. My name plastered all over the billboards outside of Los Angeles. Packs of people waiting outside the Los Angeles theater, throwing their money at the ticket booth just to be given a chance to see my reactions to the stupidest situations. It seems like I am being tested almost every day of my life. My life is one big horrifying joke and I am unaware of what is going on. The alarm rang, I forgot. It was Monday, and speaking of being tested, I had an AP History test. If you did not know, I hate that class, and most importantly I HATED my AP history teacher, Mrs. Christy. That woman would make me feel small in her class, like my voice and reasoning did not matter to her. She never wanted to see different perspectives of topics that I felt strongly about such as African American studies. Yet, whenever it came to the other students in the class, she would take the whole class period talking about their interests, which were usually European studies. When these “discussions” broke out, she consciously refused to acknowledge me when I had an opinion and stuck with her own biased narrative. She wore messy side ponytails with ridiculously long purple earrings, paired with a rose gold top and a white mini skirt that screamed 2010 tumblr girl vibes, but for an old lady. She TRIED to appeal to the majority tennis girl players in the class, as you can guess were all white. I was the only black student in her class, and I felt the difference. She never wanted to relate to me. I rose from my bed, placed my diary back on the bed. Today was going to be one of those days, I feel it.
Classes were smooth, like always, until I reached my seventh period. I thought everything was going to be cool. I knew what I had to do and how I was going to do it. I knew that material like the back of my hand. History was almost second nature to me. I walked into the classroom, head held high, then I was stopped in my tracks. The class was looking at me. Everyone looked at me like I mercilessly murdered everyone’s pet goldfish. I threw up my peace sign as a signal for I come in peace, please don’t attack me and found my seat in the back. I forgot to mention that so far, I have made hundreds on all my tests. My grades have always been spot-on, impeccable, if I do say so myself. Christy would always be in disbelief that I made a better grade than everyone else. She has tried every attempt to catch me “cheating” such as making me sit next to her as I complete my exam, or calling the principal to sit in the class alongside her and watch me. Christy read our grades aloud for everyone, but when it came to my turn, she did not even say anything, everyone knew. Somehow, I always came out on top, and she was mad. I was just that good. My peers would always be upset as well when comparing their grade to mines, claiming that I cheated. This was an every week thing, nothing new.
The bell rang, and I saw petty Christy do her little strut into the class, leaning to one side like she was on drugs. And now that I think of it, she most likely was. When she would find her seat behind her desk, she took out a powdery substance that she claimed was allergy medicine and snorted it. She devoured it, like it was the last supper, then wiped it off like nothing ever happened. She stopped walking and glared at me, motioning for me to step outside with her. The kids never broke their stare with me either. This felt like a scene out of Everyone Hates Chris, and I was Chris embarrassed and picked on for all the class to see. Once we were outside, she looked at me sternly, I felt uncomfortable because it felt like she was looking into my entire soul. Immediately, she told me that advanced placement classes do not condone cheating. Of course, I knew that? She continued to say that she has had a suspicion that I had been cheating my way through her class. EXCUSE ME? I could not breathe, what she was saying was so unreal to me. She went on to say more, but I was not listening. This weird mixture of embarrassment and rage filled my being, I was speechless. She then proceeded to say that for now, she would start putting me into a closet to take my test. She rambled about how at the other school she taught at, that other Black students would cheat off the “smart whites” in the class. This has to be a joke; I almost fainted. She just disrespected my people as well, this was a confirmation that my theory was right. She did not believe in the magic that was not only within myself but also my melanin coated brothers and sisters. I felt the stage cameras come zooming into my face, this was the moment everyone was anticipating. At this point my shame continued to grow. I knew why she thought I was cheating, but she failed to understand that Black people have the same amount of intelligence (if not, more) than their fellow academic partners. But never without a doubt did I question my intelligence: I knew who I was, so I agreed. In the moment, I felt like I was signing a deal with the devil. Coming back into the class was weird. She opened the closet door and pushed me in like I was a prisoner who just committed a felony. I wanted to cry; I wanted to scream and raise hell. But, I remember a quote that my grandmother once told me: “When God wants you to grow, He makes you uncomfortable.” Those words were always in my head, I never knew how much they would relate to me until this moment. Every other incident that followed, I would remind myself that I am growing. My character’s strength is improving with each bigoted person that God puts in my path. I realized that with this strength, I can not only help destroy the stigma placed upon by our oppressors, but give their children the true education that they were robbed from. Not every monumental person in History was white, Black people also come in different forms of excellence. I cannot change the History lessons, books, or even the teachers, but I can do my part in changing history for the future. Even though the makeup of the classrooms was majority white, I still belong. I wanted to be a paradigm for the black community and show everyone that there are intelligent Black people, so I allowed myself to step into the closet and take my test.
The only positive trait that I can say about Christy was that she always graded her assignments and tests quickly. The grades would be in the grade-book within twenty-four hours or less. As she graded my test she realized that yet again, I made a perfect score of 100. This time she seen for the first time that a Black student can fairly succeed in her classroom. She glared at me, then everyone else followed. They did not say anything, but they did not have to, it was understood. For the rest of the year, I took my test in the closet, later, the administration heard word of the case and they fired her. Justice served on a silver platter. I set the scene, and I prevailed. This incident has only made me stronger. Even though it is frustrating not being respected for my academic achievements, I am aware that my intelligence is threatening and it scares them. As I look back on my hardships, I realize that when others see me I have the power to erase the stereotype that filters their point of view. She did not stop me. The very next year, I signed myself up for advanced placement class. I worked and succeeded, eventually becoming a part of the top ten in my class. The Black community has always been unrepresented in honors and advanced classes. Growing up in a predominately white town in Alabama, I felt that I needed to adjust my personality to fit their designed mold made for me. Later on in life, I realized that this was wrong. I needed to appreciate the Black excellence that has instilled into me and let it show with no censorship.
Even though the prejudice that comes with my race is an inconvenience, I am forever grateful for the rich history that is buried deep within it. I am aware that more obstacles are coming my way, I will not let it stop me from achieving my dreams. Instead, I will let it build my determination to shine the light of opportunity for the next young Black person.