The Black Sheep of the Family
I grew up being called la oveja negra. I knew it was a name with negative connotations because my family used it whenever my behavior came into question.
I was in grade 8 when my African-American friend asked me what that meant after she came over to my house once and my aunt told her the story about how I was la oveja negra.
I was in grade 8 when my friend told me it was cruel they called me that.
I was in grade 8 when she said she felt sorry for me because she thought I was a good person.
I was in grade 8 when we both realized how racist it was to use that: black sheep.
I was in grade 8 when I went back to El Salvador for the second time in my life and learned that my grandmother also called my mother la oveja negra.
I was in grade 8 when I realized how deeply rooted the sentiment against the color black was.
I was in grade 8 when I burst into tears in front of everyone after my return telling people in my family to stop calling me that.
I was in grade 8 when I heard them say those two words in front of me for the last time.