Entry #6: Briana Beaver–Black Like Her


Several of you have asked about the word count for this contest(500) and you have diligently stayed within the limit, wishing you could apply more words. Unlike contests in the past, where adherence to the word count was meant as an exercise in discipline  to make us better writers, we are more interested here with you telling your story. Try to keep it to 500 words, but you will not be disqualified if you exceed the limit.

Having said that, Briana Beaver has managed to tell a complete story with just 174 words. Any more text would be superfluous. Brilliant.  Here is


Black Like Her

By Briana Beaver

My best friend in first grade was black. I admired her dark skin, the way rivulets of water slid down her pigtail braids without ever absorbing, and how her irises concealed her pupils. I wanted to be black, too, like her. I asked her if the world looked different to her because of her charcoal- colored eyes. Perched on the steps of her pool, she cocked her head and told me she didn’t know. Then she asked me the same question, did I see things differently than she did because my eyes are hazel. I gave her the same answer; I didn’t know.

But now, I do.

Yes.  The answer is yes. I’m just now realizing the privilege it was for me to dream of being black. While I envied her beauty and multicultural family, she was trudging through the real world. And she still is, perhaps fearing for her life over the very details that in conjunction with her sweet vulnerability, made her so beautiful to me.




How did this conversation get lost?  Use your talents to rekindle it, empower it. Please tell your story, and SHARE your story. Be part of the conversation, part of the healing. Our prompt and submission guidelines here: https://awordwithyoupress.com/2017/11/10/the-drinking-fountain-healing-history/

18 thoughts on “Entry #6: Briana Beaver–Black Like Her

  1. Thornton Sully says:

    Briana, please tell us about yourself. Has that best friend disappeared from your life? How did that happen? I ask that you and everyone reading this help the ripple in the pond expand. Invest just half an hour of your time finding three writing groups in your area, and extend a personal invitation to the administrator, including the contest link: How did this conversation get lost? Use your talents to rekindle it, empower it. Please tell your story, and SHARE your story. Be part of the conversation, part of the healing. Our prompt an submission guidelines here: https://awordwithyoupress.com/2017/11/10/the-drinking-fountain-healing-history/

    • Briana says:

      Hi there, and thank you for sharing this memory which is so dear to my heart. Unfortunately, I lost track of my dear friend when I changed elementary schools. I did, however, run into her many years later after we had both graduated from college. Despite the chapters that had been written between us, I still sensed our stories were part of the same book.

    • Briana says:

      Here is a tidbit of information about me. As somebody who has been cast to the fringes of society for multiple statuses, I am dedicated to using my writing as a propellant for social change and equality. Passionate about sociology, I search for connection in every corner and relish the opportunity to learn about what it is that binds us.

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  3. Lady Pafia Marigold says:

    Fresh as a peach yet picked in the early morning sun, I found your story, Briana, to be innocent, inquisitive, adoring with an elegance told from an adult reminencing with glimmers of sentimental afterglows. The beginnings are richly sweet, however the afterglows are bittersweet due to not being naive as to what the reality of priviledge and the lack there of imply. That fresh peach friendship once picked & devoured by your society exposes the lack of true equality, liberty & justice your friend would most likely face. These pure happinesses to both of you should never be merely childhood memories. Thank you for your story.

  4. Karlyn Miilu-Maxon says:

    Briana, you breathed life-both personally and collectively-into the often dichotomous feelings we experience when talking about racism. Your words are pure, unfiltered, impactful. Your story invites recognition and conversation about institutionalized societal inequality. For this I thank you.

    • Briana says:

      Karlyn Miilu Maxon thank you so much for your pensive comment! I am grateful that you understand on a visceral level, the multi-purpose reach of my writing. Thank you, thank you.

  5. Erin Murphy says:

    Hi Briana, I loved how this piece made me reflect about the relationship between beauty, vulnerability, and privilege. In 174 words, you have prompted the reader to drop into their own privileges and to consider for a moment that we are not all born into a world of equal acceptance. While your piece focuses on the incredibly important topic of race, I can see parallels in the world of chronic illness as well where our vulnerabilities may make us more beautiful to other people who have been privileged with health, even if those vulnerabilities have left us fearing for our lives. I hope this piece inspires people to consider the many faces of privilege in life.

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  7. shawnasbasement says:

    This entry cuts to the chase for me, after all until we are told otherwise, all life is beautiful, fascinating and compelling simply because it exists.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Briana says:

      I am happy to know my message gets to the heart of the matter for you. It is my hope that innocent, genuine conversation based on love and respect will gain cultivation in our society.

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