The African-American burden

I am an eighth-grader at Evans Middle School. Being that I am an African-American male, it bothers me that I am sometimes judged negatively based on my skin color.

Many times these judgments are passed by those of other races, but often they are rendered by those of the same race. It has been said that you should never judge a book by its cover, but in the world I live in, people will judge me solely on my skin color; especially police officers, security guards or self-appointed vigilantes who unfairly view young black males as villains.

To me, these people are the villains. I say they are villains because they have a general hate for my race and feel that every African-American male is bad or up to no good. There are no superheroes in this story, because, in my eyes, laws need to change and social attitudes need to be adjusted.

There are only victims like Michael Brown, Treyvon Martin and other young African-American males, because they did nothing and died for no reason. Society’s view of young black boys and men has put me on high alert and has forced me to be extra careful and more aware of who I am with and where I go.

Every African-American man that I know has experienced this discernment with police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes. I will keep praying for a change and continue my education so that I can prove the stigma wrong.

I come from a family where even though they have been falsely judge, they are successful and have been taught to forgive and treat everyone as they would want to be treated. I feel this societal problem is a burden I have to carry along with most African American males.

No matter what they do or how successful they are, African-Americans males finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, looking a certain way, can potentially end up in a body bag. This is a sad and scary reality, because this is something that I should not have to worry about at my age.

Taren Brown


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