One on One

In Northtown, we have one race: people. We as students have been exposed to so many walks of life that it is rare for one to be categorized by the color of their skin or when they go to church. We have no barriers that stop us from being people, because we’ve all come, not to the understanding, but to the state of being just people.

I have learned that not everyone in our society has made that understanding. What is even more powerful, is that high school students are able to meet such a concept.

On a field trip this last year, I went to Line Creek with my college microbiology class. There, I had a life encouraging conversation about college. A man there to assist us students on the field trip asked me where I wanted to go to college, and I explained to him my interest in Park University. He was a graduate from Park himself, and was very excited to hear of my own interest, and he sounded rather educated as well. And then he showed me just how educated I am.

He started speaking softly and absolutely startled me with his words.

“I’m just going to warn you,” he said, as I took note of the oncoming warning, “that there are a lot of different cultures and kinds of people there. It’s weird.”

He looked at me as if I was supposed to sympathize.

“There are people there from all over the world, like Kenya. Weird. Not all white people live in Parkville,” he said.

I told him that was a beautiful thing, and nothing about it was weird. When I told him that we’re from Northtown, the most diverse high school in Missouri, he said, “it’s cool you’re used to that kind of thing.”

I was baffled by his warning. He said it like it was going to matter. If I was any other color but white I know he wouldn’t have brought it up. I would have been one of “them” in his eyes. What he doesn’t actually see is that I already am. I’m just a part of a people. There is no them.