Kids Issue 2017: What has this become?

BELIEVE: Valley Springs Middle School eighth-grader Dylan Molling writes that he drew this self-portrait with words that both describe himself as well as phrases he looks to and lives by.
BELIEVE: Valley Springs Middle School eighth-grader Dylan Molling writes that he drew this self-portrait with words that both describe himself as well as phrases he looks to and lives by.

Editor’s note: This essay and artwork are part of Mountain Xpress’ Kids Issue 2017, our annual feature devoted to kids’ art and writing. This year, we asked students to focus on the question “What Matters to Me?”

Why do white people have more rights? Is it because there has only been one black president? Is it because Christopher Columbus was a white man who founded America? What if Columbus was a black man? Would black people have more rights, or would white people because they do not respect another brother or sister? Why do white police officers think it’s OK to shoot an innocent black man?

I am a proud black boy who is confused. I am confused why people with different skin colors don’t have equal rights. Black people have their rights, and white people have their rights, but why are they not equal?

I live in a multiracial family. One of my dads is Mexican, and the other is [Anglo]. My dads decided to adopt me. My two teenage sisters are black just like me.

I think people with different genders and ethnicities should have equal rights, and I think it is stupid that white men claim to be the people with the most power and blacks have the least. But I am not hating or judging white men, and I am not saying that black people should have more rights.

I, myself, hang out with a group of five. Three people are white, one person is brown, and the other (me) is black. Most of the time we get along, but when we do not, it is not because of the colors of our skin. What’s the difference between us kids? We all love similar things, so why should we be playing with kids that are only our skin color? Why should we live in a neighborhood with our designated skin tone?

After all, we are more alike my friends than we are unalike.

— Oliver Henry Perez
The Learning Community School, fifth grade

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