How do I define myself?

The Southerner

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JORDAN ROSS

Stripped from the arms of his mother while nestled against her breast.  Packed like cargo upon strange vessels headed towards foreign land.  Made to feel only worthy of scraps that fell beneath tables.  Yet, we have ventured to the moon and occupied the nation’s highest office.  This is the blood that runs through me.   Being African-American is a great blessing bestowed upon me.  However, it is an obstacle that forces people to look at me as “black” instead of simply “myself”.

When I turned on the T.V. on November 4th 2009, I didn’t just see the appointment of President Barack Obama; I saw the fruits of countless slaves fighting for freedom.  300 years-ago, African-Americans weren’t counted as 3/5ths of a person; now we can vote and apply to distinguished colleges devoted to nurturing African-Americans.  Knowing that someone fought to be included in the world changes my perspective to make me value and appreciate everything I have.

Going to a highly regarded high school I am amongst a variety of ethnicities.  It was when I was accepted into the magnate program for honor students that I began to see a change of scenery.  Instead of majority African-American students, I continually found myself in classes with Caucasian and Asian students.  I started getting many second glances.  Because of my color, I was not expected to achieve academically and when I did, people were surprised.  Instead of getting upset I just worked harder and smiled.

My continued education will benefit the community at large by providing me with the education necessary to change the world.  The world is in dire need of unity, and equality.  I learned that with the right guidance, I could reshape the world one step at a time.

When you look at me do you see my neighborhood and my skin color?  Or maybe my smile and my intelligence?  Being African-American is not just a bubble I fill on standardized tests.  Being African-American is a gift and a reward because thousands of people sacrificed themselves for me to have the opportunities I have.  Yes, I have to work a little bit harder to prove myself, but I will because being black is a godsend, and it has greatly enhanced my view on life.

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