Ca’ron Murphy: A shadow of a different color

Overcoming differences

Ca'ron Murphy, Feature's Editor

When I was born, my great-great grandma always worried about me. She lived through the Great Depression, WWII, and the Civil Rights Movements, but one situation that made her most afraid was how friendly her great-great grandson was around all people. I never thought about it; I just liked to meet new people. I was very curious, as most toddlers are, and I liked to figure out more about things I didn’t already know.

Once I started elementary school my curiosity spiked to a new level. Often times I was the only black kid in class. I was the only person who thought certain comedians were funny. I was the only person who was taught what the lyrics behind songs of anger, distrust, and anarchy, called rap, truly meant. I was the only person who knew who Tupac, Malcolm X, and Bernie Mac were in second grade. Sure, everyone listened to Beyoncé, but so do little old ladies at the YMCA on the weekend. 

I wrestled often with this anomaly wondering why I was excluded. I came to the conclusion that people are inclined to assimilate with people who are similar to themselves. Their speech patterns and pronunciations, their appearances, and the smiles that artificially dress their faces all play a role in the deceptive, impulsive perceptions we all create of one another. I soon discovered the problem and I confronted it head-on. 

I found myself becoming more extroverted. In middle school, I began talking to the new kids who came from the other elementary schools in the county, and I found similar interests with many of them. My best friend and I met in social studies class in sixth grade. Every morning, he and I had long conversations about cars, politics, and anything that one of us could do to make the other laugh. Although our perspectives differed on life and what we wanted from it, we both agreed that friendship was important regardless of personal appearances and beliefs.

 It’s my final year in high school, and I find myself wanting to see my community do better. I recently won my school’s class presidential campaign, along with the most diverse cabinet my school has ever seen. I became a black class president in a school that is around ninety percent white.This accomplishment solidified my belief in Dr. King’s dream of judging someone on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. 

As I look into the future, I believe my race has become a large part of who I am, although I am not bound by it. My largest objective in college, as well as in life, is to use my own experiences and higher understanding gained in high school to support others as they solve the problems they face in their lives. I was born into a world drastically different from the one my great-great grandma entered, but many of the wounds aren’t entirely healed. I just hope my grandchildren can live in a future where they can say it was all history.