We Are Not Rare Creatures

Alesha Peterson
6 min readJan 26, 2020


Credit Goes To Ponoma College, and G.Gabrielle Starr. Also check out the story she wrote here.

A person I liked said something that made me go whattttt?

At first, I wasn’t going to write this. Then I decided to respond.

General vibe that I got in my time there: black students are stupid. This is the same message that’s screamed into the world.

(What is there? My former college in West Lafayette.)

You know why? A friend pulled me aside and said it to me a long time ago.

She told me as a white person you are taught that the world is yours, you get things before anyone else, and you are the superior race. She said it’s up to each individual to realize that way of thinking is flawed; as each generation goes on, you hope it dies out.

Relatives told me the same thing.

Mitch. The nice guy I met so long ago. Why?

Creature. Really?

Just for him to say that let me know what he was thinking. And unfortunately I know that many more think like him. He was speaking his mind, and as much as it didn’t mean to come out that way, it did.

We are not rare creatures! Smart black/poc are not rare; they have a tendency to zero in on the worst examples and show it to the world and try to say everyone is the same. I would NEVER call anyone of any race a rare creature.

You gotta know this: I don’t pull the racism or victim card. But the racist experiences that I had in my time in West Lafayette was too big to ignore. Since being in the real world and away from formal education, I haven’t had many racist experiences towards me (but it still happens. Being called mixed, profiling, and subtle racism still happens every blue moon).

Unfortunately, his way of thinking is too common. I would have loved it if people in my educational life would’ve done this; instead of jumping to conclusions on someone, they push their prejudices and perceptions aside. A lot of times you don’t get the benefit of the doubt (and maybe some diversity and cultural training would have done them some good, but some people are beyond help and too far gone…)

There’s a portion of the population that thinks if you are not a white male, you’re stupid. Or you can’t do things if you’re non-white. I’ve ran into people who said off the chain remarks all the time in school.

Dehumanizing comments in school was very much the norm. People didn’t see me as a human being, just someone to label and stereotype; and to throw the book at when make a mistake, and to chip away at you so much that you wouldn’t want to aspire to do anything, because they only saw you one way. I never hated on my friends who had/have “privileges.” I just saw the writing on the wall, and counted down the days when that period of my life would be over.

At school, I watched more friends kill themselves, one friend got murdered on campus, where they told me my skin color will keep me from doing stuff (basically wanting me to play victim for the rest of my life), professors giving me lower grades than all my white friends (I did their homework and compared assignments to catch them doing that), an advisor setting me up with 20 hours my first semester to flunk me out of school, the school letting go of this advisor and not repairing the damage he did to me and other students, not being able to get in many orgs for years there fore not being able to have anyone to talk to, being hung up on when I reached out to for help at the health center, semesters of 1 major not having the classes I needed to move closer to graduation, then the tech major complaining about it, my scholarship being taken away after a few family deaths, professors not honoring accommodations and flunking me on exams anyways, dean of students lying in my face about how helpful they really are, being petrified about being dropped from school everyday, and them making me think I was making up the pain I was feeling (for example: It’s in your head), and later it ended up being a tumor I needed major surgery for. To this day we gotta keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t re-grow. I dodged cancer thank goodness, but it could always come back and the lucky surgery spot is very painful from time to time.

The bureaucracy of it all and the life events made me change my views on college. I don’t know how much damage was done to my mental health in school. I really couldn’t tell anyone, I bet I’m missing a few brain cells. While it was happening, I numbed myself to get through the days. The way they treated me it was made clear that no one cared.

It’s a damn shame. Sometimes I think about turning a new leaf and giving Purdue one more chance, and this completely ruined it…


This, maybe, is why I wasn’t seen as a human being. In a way, maybe Mitch and quite a few people on that campus think a like.

This is why I never mattered on campus, huh. And why I was never believed when all the bad experiences was happening to me. Huh.

The same with my old old school. My mother visited because they updated the parish. My mom basically said because of the bad memories she doesn’t plan on ever coming back. A person I volunteered with said all the bad people are gone and it’s been so long that no one would know who you are anyways. She said come back and I’ll give you all the wine and beneyets you can carry.

(I love those french treats OMG).

You know how it’s so bad where you say enough is enough and you just wash your hands of it? I’ll think about it for the wine and beneyets though. But when people are that nasty I’ll ride the sunset and won’t blink an eye. If I do decide to go back, for my sake I hope it’s been so long that they don’t remember me. It’s been 16 years since my grade school days and I have no intentions of ever going back.

Have you ever had someone you really like say or do things that made your jaw drop?

The cut is already deep from past wounds, but this wound is infected.

I’ll give college this respect.

  1. I learned how to drink like a sailor there.
  2. Food is amazing.
  3. I met some really cool people there. Although I do question where they stand. Since they are silent during the struggles, they don’t deserve to be around during the successes and bright lights. Maybe they feel the way Mitch feels, who knows.
  4. Feel free to call my college career a trainwreck because it is what it is.

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Alesha Peterson

Howdy! Entrepreneurship, fitness, music, acting, real estate, tequila & investing is sexy. Idea for an article? Input wanted! https://linktr.ee/aleshapeterson