Lillian Corpening-Morgan is a sophomore high school student from Columbus, Ohio. She is passionate about illustration, writing and advocacy. She does not yet know what career path she wants to pursue. In the end, she just wants to be able to buy all the books her heart desires and live happily ever after.
At first, I felt really bad. Who am I not to be friends with someone because of what they believe?
In the school I attend now, it is very privileged. And although it is somewhat mixed with different ethnicities, it is predominantly white. And it becomes difficult to hear things that seem insensitive, so I sometimes have trouble balancing relationships outside of my race.
I think it was right after seeing the George Floyd video, and I was just really emotional and it was really on my mind. And I was discussing it with another black student, who is my friend, and we were both very, very upset and emotional. And I remember this other student saying, “I don’t understand what’s so important. The police were just doing their job.
And I just couldn’t get over it. I was devastated and I was upset and I was just shocked. I find they care less because it doesn’t affect them directly. They never had to understand fear.
It’s not like we have disagreements over pizza toppings. It’s above someone’s life. And he’s someone who looks like me, acts like me, has a similar family background. If you can’t understand that’s wrong as a person, then I’m sorry. I hope you’re fine, but we can’t be friends.
I have friends who I know for a fact are most likely, from some conversations, Republican or more moderate, and I’ve never had a problem with that. As long as you can agree that basic things are good or bad, then I have no interest in what we can also disagree on.
Recently, I gave a classmate of mine – who is very Fox News, very aggressive – I gave him dark literature, and I gave it to him and he reads it. I said to him: “Read this, mark it up and come back to me.
I love reading. I read a book a day. The last books I read outside of school were ‘The Art of Being Normal’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’.
Either way, I trust everyone I surround myself with now.
I actually went to my first protest after the murder of George Floyd, and it was scary because we could see a police officer on duty, ready to get violent, and that freaked me out. I didn’t want to go in the first place, but my mom said it would be a good experience.
Luckily it was peaceful. Even though it happened during COVID, we did our best to be safe during our stay.
But the pandemic has heightened my anxiety. In fact, it led me to get medication for it. I had previously had social anxiety and generalized anxiety. I just feel like it grew.
On top of that, police brutality was still happening and everyone was still mildly racist and saying terrible things to me, but going, “Oh, but you’re different.” I’m not. I am no exception. Even though I’m smart and nice, those other people were smart and nice and they still ended up dying.
It’s disappointing that we continue to live like this and that there is not enough change yet.