Written by Alejandra Mejia
My first time was on the back of a bright yellow school bus, early evening. My usual bus buddy wasn’t there so I was assigned to sit with someone else, I didn’t mind. I can remember her cute pigtails perfectly tied up and her pale blue eyes looked gorgeous in the lighting. I thought to myself how lucky I was to be sitting next to such a pretty girl. I was shy, I didn’t speak but I sat down quietly and sat my pink princess book bag on my lap as our bus driver instructed us to several times.
Now mama didn’t raise no fool, I knew perfectly what racism was at the early age of eight. So when I heard “wetback bitch” come from the mouth of this little girl I immediately knew this was going to be a long bus ride. Raised by a West Virginian mother and a proud Hidalguense father, “never start it, but always finish it.” was the motto. I honestly didn’t want any trouble, so I shot her a nasty look and leaned the other way thinking this would suffice – it didn’t.
Mind you, everyone is assigned a bus buddy and all seats are taken the little gringa decides to grit her teeth and snarl her nose “get out of my seat you little beaner” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I had never experienced this before so naturally I asked her to stop gritting her teeth at me because I was not going anywhere. After a few more ugly remarks I was fed up and took both of her beautiful golden pigtails between my fists and yanked down. Now that I think of it, violence was probably not the answer but eight year old me wasn’t taking anyone’s shit.
I can recall a few of the older kids on the bus encouraging me and finding the situation hysterical. A few slaps later Mrs. Whoever pulled over to see what the hell is going on. Now this wasn’t only my first time experiencing racism but ALSO white privilege, how fun! The reasonable thing to do was to ask the kids next to us who had witnessed the whole thing, and the smol little girl explained everything perfectly. Turns out everything boiled down to one question, “who hit who first?” to which the answer is obvious. Three days later when I was allowed back on the bus I found out that the girl using racial slurs at ten years old was not punished if not received a pat on the back, and was moved to the front so the bus driver could watch out for her. I’m sure this girl is very bright and a nice young lady, no one is born racist, I just hope she’s learned from her mistakes.
From that day I learned to stand up for myself and to never be ashamed of who I am and where I come from. Racism is still very alive, please show your children to spread love instead of hate.