My name is Krissy Moore. I was born September of 2000 and this is an account of my experiences being a Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color (BIPOC) in America.
For context, my father is both Black and Latino, while my mother is Filipino. My mother is from the Philippines and came to America with her first husband before meeting my father, from this, I have two brothers. My brothers and I are all Filipinos, but their father is White and mine is Black. People have been confused as to us being siblings and we have had to explain the situation before, but you deal with it long enough and it’s second nature to you.
As for my childhood, it was great for the most part. Looking back on it now that I am older, I can see that my father was preparing me for life as a Black person in this society. I am not full Black, but where I live, that's all people have ever seen in me. Nobody asks about my Filipino side, even though I’m more Filipino than anything, and no one asks about my Latina side; they just look at me and see Black. I am proud to be Black. I am happy to be Black, but I am more than just Black.
My experience with racism and being treated differently starts young. My father would jokingly call and use the n-word with the hard r around me because he knew that I would get called it. He knew that if I reacted and got mad about being called the n-word, it would be seen as my fault, and I would get in trouble.
It started for me when I was in elementary school when my school saw that I was a brown kid, and without my parents’ knowledge, put me into a class that I’m still unsure what exactly it was, but I’m pretty sure it was for kids who couldn’t speak English. I was able to speak English perfectly fine and didn’t know why I was put in this class. They would come during my normal class and pull me out, then take a group of us and sit down with us to give extra help. I later asked my parents about why I was part of that and what it was for, but my parents had no idea what I was talking about.
Also during this time, I went through a lot of issues with my hair. I would wake up, get dressed, brush my teeth, and brush my hair but every time I would get to school my classmates would tell me “You need to brush your hair” and when I would say I did, they would tell me “No, no actually brush it. Wet it down and brush it”. I would try that, and my hair would be ten times worse the next day, and again I’m getting “just brush your hair”. There was a time where I made it into the spelling bee and at a rehearsal the teacher in charge at the end told us to be prepared for the next day by making sure we wear something nice, brush our teeth and then, of course, she looks at me and says to make sure we brush our hair. People don’t understand that my hair isn’t like theirs, and “just wetting and brushing it” wasn’t going to do the same thing for my hair that it did for theirs. They just continued to think I wasn’t trying when realistically I was trying to find a way to stop the frizz.
This continued into middle school. The only difference was that now kids started hearing the stereotype that Black people have “nappy” hair, and I being the only Black kid, some of them would always say my hair was “nappy”. Let me make something clear, my hair is at most a 3a and I had people calling my hair “nappy”. The only reason I was “nappy” was because I was Black. Realistically I had a problem with frizz, not naps. Finally, I got my first hair straightener. I had been asking for and wanting one because of the backlash I received from my natural hair, and sure enough, the day I came into school with straight hair, I got the most praise and compliments I ever had about my hair. Then I went back to school with day-old straightened hair, and girls would tell me I should straighten my hair again. My day-old straightened hair was called nappy.
Along with this, middle school was the first time I was ever called the n-word. It wasn’t the last. I was in English class in seventh grade, and our desks were set up two in a row. In our middle school, phones were not allowed at all; if you had your phone out, it was taken by the school for seven school days. With that being said, there was a guy sitting next to me who pulled his phone out and started playing a game. We were in the front, and I knew that the teacher most likely could see him playing on his phone. I told him he should put it away before he gets the class in trouble, but he ignored me, so I decided to touch his screen. He looked at me and called me the n-word for that. Trying to help someone so their phone doesn’t get taken away gets you called racial slurs if you’re Black.
A few years later, in ninth grade, there was a time where someone I considered a friend would call me the n-word every day as I walked into a class that we shared. That class happened to be the first class of the day. The start of my day for a chunk of time in school was getting called the n-word when I walked into class. That person happened to be the first person to try and tell me that the confederate flag is only history and not meant to be racist when people fly it. This person also posted on their social media how “All Lives Matter” is not racist and is taken the wrong way.
Later on, at the age of 18, I began my first job. It seemed like a great job: it paid well, and the schedule wasn’t bad. When I first met my boss I didn’t have any issues with him as he seemed like a normal boss. Down the line, there was a time where a coworker had asked my race, and I mentioned what I was. My boss overheard, and they looked at each other with a “that’s what it is” kind of look and said how the whole crew was talking about what my race was behind my back during work hours. His words were along the lines of “oh we thought you were Samoan or something like that but someone said no you’re just light skin but I knew you were more”. I personally feel it’s inappropriate to talk about ethnicity and race at the workplace as it can be a sensitive subject for some people. That same boss of mine would tell me about how his grandmother and mother were “a little racist” and would use the n-word and that’s the reason he doesn’t have them around. He would say that he wasn’t like that and he didn’t do anything like that since it makes him uncomfortable, while he then told my other coworker how his son was using the n-word around the house.
At this same job, I’ve experienced racism from the customers as well. For example there was one time when I was checking two men out at the front register. Where I worked, the first thing you have to get is a phone number from the customer to bring up their information. I typed in this man’s phone number and his information came up. I checked to make sure it was the correct customer by asking his first name and he gave me a colorful response that I will explain further later. As a cashier, I tried to work at a steady pace as to not back up my line but also to make sure the customer feels that I’m not trying to rush them out. There was an older White man and an older Latino man. The Latino man was the one unloading and loading the basket while the White man stood back and was paying for everything. Every time I would scan something the older White man would say “Woah girl! Slow down girl!” while throwing his hands towards me. I’m the type of person that wants everyone to feel comfortable even if I don’t, so I didn’t tell him to stop. I just smiled it off as I knew I would only have to deal with him a short time longer. At the end of the transaction, I give him his total and his response is “Damn. All you Mexican girls know how to take my money” while laughing with a coworker of mine who was helping them take an item out. He then paid and left without saying anything else to me. Now back to what happened after I got his phone number to pull up his information. After I typed in his number I saw his name pop up (let’s call him John Doe and the other man Jack Roe). I asked “John?” and he looked at me upset and said “Judge Doe. And that’s Pastor Roe”. Then Jack Roe looked at me and said, “Don’t worry just call me Jack”, but the judge looked at him a little upset. The judge is the man that said “all you Mexican girls know how to take my money”. A few months later I started having car troubles and had to call off of work a few days. At this job, you have a three-strikes policy. You get three written warnings, and then if you get written up again, you are put on administrative leave. I had to take three days off (not consecutively). There was one day where I called off and one of my supervisors called me back and said that I didn’t have any time off left. I told her that I checked before I called off that day and she said she will call the store manager then call me back. We had just recently switched from the first male store manager that I mentioned earlier to a female store manager. She called her and called me back. She told me that the time off I was seeing was vacation time, which would have to be put in three weeks in advance. I didn’t have a ride to work that day, so I told my supervisor that I will have to take the write up since I wouldn’t be able to get there or back. The next time I worked I came in and was at my register. The store manager came up to me at the front of the store to bring me my write up to sign instead of pulling me into the office privately. It said it was my “final warning” even though I had not previously received any kind of warning I signed my write up there at my register as I was too overwhelmed to ask questions since we were still out in the open where any customer or employee could see what was going on. The next day I came in and I was put on administrative leave before I could even clock in. I got pulled into the office and on my way out to go get my stuff from the break room my manager yells for me to give her my headset in front of customers and employees. I tried to email my district manager and heard nothing back. I later received a letter in the mail saying I was terminated. I was only one of two Black people that worked there.
I live in the Southwest, Southeast of New Mexico to be more specific. Through all that I’ve endured, I know that I’m lucky that it’s all I’ve had to go through. My experience as a BIPOC has been rough at times and I’m not even 20 at the time of writing this. I’ve experienced more racism in my nearly two decades than someone who isn’t a minority has their whole life. Some people want to forget or are just ignorant to the fact that slavery was not that long ago. I’ve had “friends” tell me to get over slavery.
My father wasn’t close to his dad’s side of the family, but it’s just about a guarantee that my dad's great grandfather was a slave. Slavery isn’t as old as it seems. My dad was raised by his Latina mom since the day he was born, but no one calls him Latino since they only see him as Black as they see me. My father has gone through much more in his years than I’m sure I know. The fact is that life as a BIPOC has not changed much from when my dad was in his teens, in the 80s, to when I am in my teens, today.
We are the generation for change. We are the generation that will set new standards on how we treat our people. We are strong alone and even stronger together. We will not be silenced and we will be heard. We stand with those who are hurting and who need us. Injustices and mistreatment will no longer be tolerated.
As a BIPOC, I have to say that I am proud to see our allies come out and support us. It’s heartwarming and we all thank you. I am very happy that I have the time and am able to share my story and I hope it can show at least one person what we go through as black, indigenous, and people of color. We appreciate the support and are here to support in any other battles against injustice.
Thanks for listening,