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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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The Open Door

School House, schoolhouse

Over a year ago, I was hanging out with my friends over the weekend when we decided to walk to 7-Eleven. When my friends and I decided to walk through our old elementary school playground on our way to the 7- Eleven, we didn’t think we’d end our night with the police calling our parents to come to pick us up. When we approached the school’s front doors, we noticed that the side door leading to the gym was open. Thinking that the janitors had left the door open, we naturally went inside. We then walked around for a good 10 minutes, revisiting different memories. It was all fun and exciting until we looked down a hall -we saw a police officer walking in and out of rooms. Immediately, our common sense left our brains.

We decided to run in the opposite direction and out the back entrance. As we turned a corner, we came face to face with two police officers. Although we startled them, no arrests were made, but instead, they called our parents to come to pick us up. My dad and mom weren’t delighted to get the phone call from the police to come and get me. Although I wasn’t charged with anything, my parents made sure there were consequences.

That night ended badly for me, but it got me thinking, what if I was Black? My night could have ended up much worse than it did. My parents could’ve been picking me up in handcuffs from a police station. As I reflect on the current events, I tend to ask myself that same question, what if I was Black? I try to put myself in their shoes.

What I realized, though, is that I can’t even begin to imagine what a Black person faces every day. I am lucky enough to have “white privilege” and get a free pass on many different things. Having to be cautious and feel scared around those who are there to make you feel safe and protected is something I don’t experience. The worst thing I might go through on a daily basis is someone messing up my fast-food order from Chick-Fil-A. As a white male in today’s society, I already have an advantage just by being me.

Going through that experience did help me in the long run. It made me more aware of my surroundings. When I decided to walk into that school, I didn’t think about the consequences. That night didn’t end in tragedy, but it at least opened my eyes and, in retrospect, makes me want to capitalize on what I’ve got going for me. I want to give back more to those who need it and work on myself as much as I can. When I get a degree, I plan to find a calling in the future that makes a difference in the world.

My actions have consequences. I learned that the hard way, but I also learned that I should appreciate how lucky I am. I have parlayed this experience into a lesson for myself. That lesson being, don’t take any opportunity or advantage for granted and be mindful of how you can make a difference in the world. Getting caught that night made me realize that I should start appreciating what I have more because others around me don’t get to experience the same privileges as me.

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