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.

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


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.