Hearing someone say that a whole group of people look alike and it’s all DNA reminded me of kindergarten and the fun a friend and I would have swapping places. The teacher couldn’t tell us apart, and we had a great time with that. We both had short brown hair and probably similar builds – kindergarten, everyone is fairly small…. Now I don’t think we look anything alike, but at the time it was fun. Each morning we would decide if we were going to be ourselves or swap name tags. Things were going great until the day that the school had a vaccination day. Back then if you didn’t get your shots at the doctor you could sign up to get them at school. I had mine but my friend hadn’t yet. Being five we didn’t know today was the day! Swapping seemed a good idea that morning, up until we found out about shots. For my friend Iva it worked out, for me on the other hand, I ended up with shots for a second time in just a couple months. The same shots I had just gotten! No amount of arguing would convince the teacher she had the wrong kid. Even the principal, who funnily enough was married to my cousin Reva, must not have believed me. I don’t remember anything but the story.

That year I was handful for that teacher. I also chased a boy around the room one day and ended up in the hall in trouble and my name. In my kindergarten handwriting I wrote a note saying my parents had changed my name to Maria and had gotten my mother to sign it. Apparently she thought she was signing something else, like maybe that I was playing school. On the other hand, I took the note to school and turned it in. The school changed all the records and was calling me by my ‘new’ name a few weeks later when parent teacher conferences came up. When my teacher called me Maria my mother found out what happened. All my records got changed back.

Actually the comment I saw was They all look alike and mentioned DNA, but the thing is to me that’s not an excuse and you can, I’m sure, guess what we were talking about. The discussion had turned to why blacks were targeted more than Caucasians. The person was commenting it was because they all look alike and blamed it on DNA. I’ll repeat that’s never an excuse. Once in a while people do get mistaken for others, but the first thing is to be aware of our biases and how we handle the situation after.


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