I recently started watching Black-ish after seeing it advertised in Teen Vogue. At first, I watched episodes mainly for the jokes and Laurence Fishburne’s funny scenes, but the show has deeper messages that made me quite emotional. In the episode “The Nod,” Junior finds himself relating to a stranger. It clicked in my head that the whole nod thing was about finding someone whom you can relate to, who knows what you’re going through. Jay Z’s, “It’s a Hard Knock Life” was playing during that scene. After the episode, I decided to listen to the song, and by the time it had finished, I was sobbing while curled up in a ball on my bed.

I don’t know exactly what prompted this reaction to a song that I’ve heard a thousand times. It was probably the fact that I started school again a few days ago, and remembered how it felt to be made fun of. I’m constantly scrutinised for being a Muslim and for being foreign. As the chorus played, I thought to myself, This isn’t fair. Why do I have to grow up being made fun of for things I can’t change when other, more privileged kids don’t? I didn’t ask for this and I couldn’t choose who to be. I am who I am.

It annoys me when privileged people tell me that these experiences will make me a stronger person. That’s easy for them to say! I can’t change my skin tone or my culture, and I don’t want to change the religion I believe in. I guess my life will continue be filled with hardship. ♦