Origin by Naleka Beckford

Kieshana was very disappointed when she heard the news that they were moving back to Antigua.  Not that Antigua wasn’t a wonderful magnificent island, the reason was because back in the fourth grade they’d started learning about slavery and when everybody heard about all the horrible things that slave masters did, they grew very racist to Kieshana.  Soon everyone started to hate her.  Although Kieshana wasn’t white she was mixed, it made matters even worse.  When they heard the things white people did, they started to pick fights with her.  Every time she said to leave her alone, they would reply, “or what, you whip us to death?”

Remembering the horrible event made her even more mad.  Too bad, she had no choice because her father, Mr. Philips, was a successful business man until he fell into bankruptcy and lost all his money.  Their only choice was to live with his sister Megan in Antigua.  Soon they felt the cool atmosphere and came to a nice warm tropical climate.  After three months Kieshana went back to her old school and Mr. T. Philips got a job as a bank teller in the town.  Kieshana was soon in her old red, blue and white uniform.  After a week she could tell that the people still hated her for her origin.  She actually thought that they would put it behind them after two years.

Nobody wanted to be friends with her, and she was lonely and outnumbered by twenty nine students which were like the whole class.

A couple weeks passed and everyone forgot about the past and became less hostile until they started to review slavery.  It started all over again, all of her friends left because they were too scared to stand up to the ring leader, Jay.  The thing was that if she brought it to the teachers (who also hated her, except for Mr. Courts) they blamed her and she would get detention.  If that happened she would be in a lot of trouble with her parents who were always pressuring her about the upcoming Common Entrance Examinations.

The only reason the teachers hated her was because Jay was the grandson of Mrs. Walton the meanest teacher whom everyone was scared of. In class, Mr. Courts said they had to write about their origin, the majority of the class glared at Kieshana (as if it meant something).  It was very hard for Kieshana to find something good about her origin without offending Jay, because everything about whites would be offending. (What will she say my origin is white and we like to beat blacks?)  Kieshana almost forgot that she was black from her mother’s side so she wrote on that.

After everyone wrote and read their pieces, the teacher left the room.  Jay and twenty nine students hovered around her desk.  “How can you lie? You are nothing like us.” “How dare you insult me.” “I am mixed you know.” said Kieshana.  “The only thing I see mixed are your hazel eyes,” snorted Jay.  Kieshana gathered all of her confidence. “You’re just insulting yourself and being a racist. You do know that we’re apart of slavery, and, if anything, you’re the true slave master, pushing people around with your power,” she said in a loud confident voice.  The twenty nine children started to consider.  Soon they went over to Kieshana.  “What are you doing, are you going to let some white girl boss you around?” Jay shouted.

One of the boys answered, “We made that decision, and we weren’t forced.”  “Get back here,” Jay screamed.  “Or what?” a girl snorted as they all went back to their seats leaving Jay stunned.

Later that day Jay realized his actions and apologized to everyone.  After a week everyone finally forgave him including Kieshana.

A white girl named Anlea, started the school later that year.  No one was hostile to her.  She even had a lot of friends including Jay.  So in the end the school was once again in harmony and nobody hated each other for their origin.

AUTHOR BIO:  Naleka Beckford, 11, is a Grade Six student at Antigua Wesleyan Junior Academy. Her story, Origin,  which the chief judge said “covers some serious topics in a simplified way”, earned her third place in the 12 and Younger age category of the Wadadli Pen 2012 Challenge.

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