When I was younger, my prize possession was a single snow globe. It was small enough to fit inside my palm, but encased in the glass was my greatest treasure; a magical city. The globe lived beside my bed, and each night I would pray to the god above that when I pried my eyes open I would wake up in my magical city and I would no longer be on the outside looking in. The memory of my magical city faded as the years passed, but I never stopped being on the outside.
African American children who are raised in predominantly white communities sometimes lose touch with their own culture. They are black roses surrounded by white lilies. They share vital qualities with white lilies; their mannerism, upbrings, and education are mere reflections of each other but these black roses are perceived differently because their skin is comparable to the night sky. They turn into translators between the black and the white and are mandated to meet certain requirements. They must always be aware of Black trends, be athletic, or obtain musical abilities. They are expected to relate to both cultures, but are never invited in either.
These black roses are constantly reminded of their differences. When slavery is taught in their history classes, eyes drift towards them as if they should understand what it is to be shackled and chained. Jokes are made about their dark skin – like how they disappear in the dark. On the other side of the color spectrum, they are thought to be outsiders from their black culture because of their white tendencies and characteristics. These roses are traitors because more lilies fill their garden rather than other roses. I know this topic well because I am a black rose surrounded by white lilies.
I play tug-and-pull with the culture that is sown into my skin and the one that encircles me. Do I continue to try to break the indestructible glass to the magical city, or do I sit on the outside and learn to cherish my fellow roses? For now, I wait in limbo, and pray for the day where I do not feel compelled to label myself as a black rose or a white lily, but just a flower.