June 24 ~ Marshall
Tonight SNR camped out at the Piney campgrounds in Tennessee. Even though we had camped out before, this was the first time where we were surrounded by other teens and had the opportunity to swim and play basketball. This was also the first and only night where we started a campfire. Throughout this trip this was SNR’s first”real” camping experience, and by real I mean hot dogs, s’mores and the whole 9. We explored the grounds for all their worth, ate more hotdogs, roasted more s’mores; hooped it up on the court, and ended the night with all of the boys sprinting into the lake. Shout out to Mahlique to being the first one to dive in. It was really one of those nights where we could unwind and enjoy ourselves.
However, our happy go lucky façade was broken when we were encountered by two little girls while exiting the lake. For the first time on this tour we were greeted by the same word by which many of our parents and grandparents have been subjected to: the “N” word. These two little girls, born and raised in Tennessee, were not a day older than 8. In fact, the exact quote from one of them was “I’m seven and a half now, shut your f-ing mouth.” This was one of those situations where we are reminded of why we are embarking on this journey, not to bike across the country, but to understand the hardships of the enslaved people running towards freedom. When we are use to a certain type of people, such as the many privileged and open hearted and sometimes open minded people in my town Chapel Hill, NC, we often forget that not everyone feels, believes or even shares the same point of view. It is this reality and false sense of security which damages our ability to perceive the upbringings of others. In this instance I realize that these two little girls are not necessarily bad people. In a sense they are no different from me. They are how there were raised. There parents have instilled racism into there bones just as mine have made sure that I am never judging one by their outward appearance or their interpersonal beliefs. It is simply by the luck of the draw that I was on that side of the line. In conclusion this experience was an easy reminder that we cannot forget that there still are dangers on our route and that not every was raised by the same morals.
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