Deconstructing Race: I Was Falsely Accused Of A Crime
I was pursuing the American dream, but suddenly, I felt hopeless, recognizing that despite my intelligence, hard work, and loving heart, I could be tossed away like garbage because of my race.
While in high school, my sister and I were falsely accused of a crime by White individuals. We were the only Black family in the neighborhood, and a family called the police when they saw my sister and I walking in our neighborhood. They later claimed that we returned at 2 am to try to break into their house. It turned into a year-long surreal nightmare...we were intimidated, and someone even threatened to burn a cross on our law.
Fortunately, our accusers dropped the charges, concerned about giving a false report.
Despite the extraordinary news, a cold front had settled over my heart. Nevertheless, I chose the tough, liberating journey of healing to truly appreciate the beauty across all races. I graduate as valedictorian and earned my PhD.
I have learned that we can take something as awful as an overt act of racism and make it transformative. What could have physically and mentally imprisoned me, compelled me to live with greater freedom to love, as well as embrace a sounder commitment to racial equality.
Dr. Sam Kline is a diversity/inclusion speaker and consultant who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Deconstructing Race is a series of commentaries about racial identity by Miami Valley residents. It's co-curated by Dr. Kimberly Barrett, vice president of multicultural affairs and community engagement at Wright State University. The series features ten people of varying ages and racial identities responding to one or more of the following questions:What is your experience with racial identity? Are there pieces of your identity that are frequently misunderstood, invisible, or visible in complicated ways? If you could make one wish about race and identity, what would it be?
Submissions are still open. Send your answer to one or more of the questions above, in 200 words or less, to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your submission is accepted, it will be edited by WYSO and you’ll be asked to come in and record.