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Color Barrier

I am an African-American, living in Chicago. My name is Glory. Sometimes I know people look-down on us, but most of the time I can shake off the prejudice I see about me. Prejudice is a funny thing. It means that people pre-judge me, that they see my color first, instead of looking at me as a person.

The other day, I learned something that really hurt. I was at a party and a good friend of mine from school came in. Hi, Mina, whats happening? Thats the way we talk. Sometimes we say, Whats up? and it comes out like wut-sup?

Glory, I am happy to see you. I have not seen you in a very long time. That is the way Mina talks. She learned English in India as a little girl before she moved to Chicago with her family. Her English is very proper, almost like she grew up in London.

We chatted away for a while, Mina, where is Naveen? Are you all still going out together?

Yes, but not as much. I think he will be here in a little while.

I gotta go in the kitchen. I need to help Amber. We were at Ambers house and it was her birthday party.

About an hour later, I saw Mina in the bedroom, putting on her coat. Why are you leaving so early? Then I saw she was crying. Whats wrong? What happened? This made her cry harder.

I brought her into the bathroom so no one would see us or hear us. Tell me. Did someone say something bad to you? I asked.

Glory, I cant believe it. Naveen is here and he told me that he must break up with me. His parents have told him that I am not acceptable.

No way! Impossible! You guys have been going out forever, This was a surprise. Naveen seems like such a nice guy. Did he tell you why?

I am so embarrassed. At first, he said they didnt want us to be serious. But when I asked more questions, he got confused and didnt know what to say. Then he said it was because my parents did not have enough money. He said they cannot give me a dowry when I marry. But then... and she broke down crying again.

Take your time. Theres no hurry.

She took a deep breath and then said, I knew this was possible, but I still cant believe it is happening to me. He finally said, Mina, it is not just the money; it is also because you are so dark. They dont want to have dark grandchildren. I just turned away and left him standing there. I did not want him to see me crying.

This made me so angry, I wanted to tear his eyes out. Mina, he is Indian like you, isnt he? I will go and tell him what I think of him.

Oh, Glory, you must not do anything else. You have been so kind to listen to me in my sorrow. I am better now. I will go home now. At least now I know that it is all over between us. Just please walk me to the door so I am not alone if I see him.

That night I was still thinking about Mina. Then I remembered. Even my mother said that she was glad her children were lighter and not darker brown.

How horrible this is. Why should color matter so much to people. I want to change everyone and make them see that every color is beautiful. Little children dont see people in colors. How do we get this way?

Activities

A. Vocabulary. Use these words in the role play: look down on, prejudiced, embarrassed, sorrow.

B. Role Play: Create dialogs for these situations.

1. Mina, Glory. They greet each other and chat.

2. Naveen, his parents. They tell him that Mina is unacceptable.

3. Mina, Naveen. He argue about breaking up.

4. Mina, Glory. Mina tells Glory about what happened with Naveen.

5. Mina, Amber. Mina tells Amber about the problem and she reacts.

6. Mina, her mother. They discuss Minas problem.

C. Writing

1. Write a letter from Minas parents to Naveens parents.

2. Write a description of the party in general: the living room, the kitchen, the people.

3. Write a summary of the problem.

4. Write a solution to the problem



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