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13 Angeloulysaker Essay

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Quinn Angelou-Lysaker
Lake Washington Girls Middle School
Grade: 8th
Age: 13
First Place Winner

I am a thirteen year old African-American girl. That information alone would conjure up a pretty accurate image of me: dark skin, dark hair, and trademark AfricanAmerican facial features. However, given that description, the content of my character might surprise you. I speak articulately and typically use proper grammar. I live on Beacon Hill, go to private school, and am so exhausted with the black-girl preoccupation with hair that I chose to shave my own off completely. In fact, I cannot name a single gospel song, nor do I particularly like okra. In no way have I ever exemplified the black stereotype. Consequently, I’ve gone through life watching heads nod in approval when people listen to my music, notice the sweaters in my wardrobe, or see the ribbons I won in swim team. I’ve always felt more respected by those who perceived me as somehow “less black.” From this unique perspective, looking black and “acting white,” I’ve developed a critical eye for injustice.

One of my first encounters with injustice was a seemingly insignificant scene at a Safeway. I was about five, wait...

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