A Student Ambassador

How have you contributed to the issues of multiculturalism and diversity?

I stood in front of a fourth grade classroom, all eyes fixed on me. For some reason, I felt nervous, as if I were bare, exposing all my past secrets to the world of susceptible minds. I held up the book The Colors of Freedom, explaining that it was a collection of personal accounts focused on traversing cultural barriers. As I flipped through the book with quivering fingers, I saw from the corner of my eyes small hands rising up eagerly. One boy asked, “Why are people so mean?” In my mind, I could have gone off on many tangents, alluding to the Ku Klux Klan or the income gaps between white men and black women. However, I simply answered, “That is why we are here this morning.”

Suddenly, the wall I was leaning against felt colder, as if the plastered room turned into an ice chamber. For that chilling moment, my mind brought me unwillingly back to the age of ten. I now stood before the judging eyes of peers and felt bare once more. Were these cruel kids going to comment on my slanted eyes? Would I hold back tears to avoid further harassment? None of them seemed to understand the predicament I was shoved into when I first opened that classroom door, exposing this straight jet-black hair to ridicule. In fact, when following kids to...

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