01/18/2012 09:29 am ET Updated Mar 19, 2012

I'm Just A Person

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm black, or as politicians say, African American. As you read that last sentence, every single one of you probably got an image in your head or asked, "What the heck is the point of this blog?" Now imagine if I had said, "I have brown eyes." Did you think as many things? Did have a picture in your head?

There are two issues that bother me regarding race. First are the typical stereotypes. It's a shame that when I Google "Why are black people," Google fills in "Why are black people mean? So loud? So fast?" Why do blacks all get put under one big heading? Why do people think it's necessary to group and stereotype people based on race and background? I thought our nation got over this superficial categorization 50 years ago, but apparently not. The worst part is that many African Americans don't do anything about it. Some even intentionally reinforce these labels, continuing to settle and live out the "loud and uneducated" stereotype. Black people have spent so long trying to acquire the rights we have today, yet we waste much of what we've struggled to achieve.

The other issue is the "badge of inferiority" form of racism. Several weeks ago, my school counselor gave me a letter from The Ohio State University and when I saw the OSU signature heading at the top, my mind was racing. My counselor told me I had been selected as one of the top academic juniors at my school. My heart pounded and a big grin swept across my face. "Thank you so much," I giggled as he handed me the paper. And what was at the top? "From the Office of Diversity and Inclusion." My face fell as I slumped out of the room. Last week, I went to the dinner and awards ceremony that they invited me to attend. The dinner was well-made and the keynote speakers were inspiring, but what did they make sure to include in their speeches? "OSU offers many opportunities for minorities like you. So as you make your way to college, we hope that you consider OSU for your education."

Why are my achievements being praised simply because I'm black? Why do minorities get special treatment? I understand institutions want to include all walks of life in their programs. I understand they want to encourage different perspectives and have students embrace their heritage. But why do they act like cancer has been cured when there's a black person that has above a 3.5 GPA? Why can't I be judged as a person? I want to be known for my hard work and dedication, not being smart "for a black person." Being a certain race is a coincidence; it is chance (I would know, I just studied genetics in AP Biology). We don't choose our color. And just because we are that color doesn't make us incapable of doing things that other races can. Does being white mean that you get the short end of the stick when it comes to college? It shouldn't. It's nice to be recognized for being a minority in a society with a long history of racism. It's an honor to be recognized for being academically gifted. But one does not truly bear any relationship to the other.

"All men are created equal." Have we Americans really reached that point? Or do we just continue thinking that we have in order to ensure that America's pride in its "diversity" is never diminished? I'm not just black. I'm not just a woman. I'm a lot of other things. When I fill out a college application, they will never know that I sing in the shower. They will never know I was the first person to become friends with the new girl at school. They will never know that when I was seven, I played with Harry Potter Legos from sunrise to sunset. What will they see? I'm a girl. I'm smart. And I'm black.