When I was little, my dad used to take our family to the track and let us race against each other. The winner always got to choose dessert. I used to try to figure out which lane I needed to be in so I could outrun my father and my brother. My mom used to laugh as she told me that the only person I was ever running against was the person I was yesterday. She said that the hard lessons are learned over and over again and that the real challenge is to come face to face with the person we used to be and outrun him.
I knew she was not talking about track, but I could not understand how I could outrun myself.
I have been in private schools in Baltimore City all my life. When I was in elementary school, I was the only African American boy in my grade. Every day, I was reminded in subtle ways that I did not belong and that I was different.
There were two communities: The first was built within the school, where teachers did what they could to include me. The second was harder to understand because it was built over the weekend and during after-school, parent-arranged play dates. My family and I were rarely invited or included.
When I was 6, a boy in my class made up a game called “Let’s get the black boy.” I do not remember the details, but I do remember that I spent the entire recess running. I do not know if it was because I was scared or if I was just playing the game.
Read the whole story at the Washington Post.