Her parents then told her that she passed a test that allowed her to attend a white school called Lakeview Elementary permanently. She would start tomorrow, and was one of five girls to pass the test. She would attend the school with Tessie.
“Momma, I’m so excited!” Alicia hugged her tightly.
“Darling, there might be some people who will say nasty things to you about your race, but don’t let that bother you,” Poppa reminded her gently.
“Yes, Poppa,” Alicia nodded in understanding.
She didn’t really understand him completely, but she didn’t want to bother him anymore.
The next day, Alicia walked to her new school with Tessie. When they arrived there was a mob of mostly angry whites.
“Go back to where you belong!” some white bystanders shouted at them.
Alicia and Tessie ignored them.
“They don’t even understand us,” a white man taunted them.
“Hey, leave those poor girls alone!” a white woman shouted.
Tessie and Alicia looked up surprised to find that Mrs. Robinson was the speaker.
“How did you know we were here?” Tessie asked.
“A white man told me a parable about being cautious about how a lot of white people don’t like the colored,” she explained.
“What was the parable?” Tessie asked.
“A black man was walking into a black school picking up his daughter, when he was stopped by some white people saying nasty things to him, “Go home to Africa!” a tall gentleman in his thirties named Thomas said. “Stop sending your daughter to school and go work on a plantation!” a gentleman in his early fifties named Nathan said. “Yea, you’re a slave mister, you were born to be a slave and will die a slave!” a gentleman in his seventies named Derek shouted. Now, these white people were his “friends” yesterday. They told him they would help him get a job, since they heard he lost his job two months ago, and still didn’t find any work. They offered him a job of protesting against discrimination, and drawing a parallel between the murder of Emmett Till and what is happening today, “Mrs. Robinson told the girls the parable using a southern black accent to make it more authentic.
Alicia turned to the white bystanders.
“ We are different, but aren’t we all?” Alicia told them.
“I wish you would see us who we are inside instead of what we look like,” Tessie explained her personal feelings to them.
Mrs. Robinson addressed the girls, “You are both right, but many people judge only by our looks, and not by our actions, which matters more”.
“I don’t understand, Mrs. Robinson,” Alicia expressed.
“I will ask you a question first, and then have you answer it. Did you ever hear the phrase, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”? Mrs. Robinson questioned Alicia.
“Yes, I did, Mrs. Robinson.”
“Well, what matters is what is on the inside, and not what is on the outside. We can change how we act towards other people, but we can’t change our outward appearance. If you continue being nice to the ones who are mean to you, then they will change. Remember it takes a long time sometimes. I wish people would define who you are by what you are doing to help people, and not by what you appear to be on the exterior,” she explained.
“Mrs. Robinson, I always thought the world was a utopia in my heart, but chaos is around me. How can there be a utopia in my heart, but not around me?” Alicia asked.
“Dear, I know it is somehow hard to understand, but it is possible for your heart to be in order, but the world to be a messed up place. It’s not a bad thing though, because you are happy with yourself, and sometimes you need a utopia in your heart to help you get through the problems of the outside world.”
“You are very wise indeed, and I’m happy I met you,” Alicia embraced Mrs. Robinson.
They said goodbye to Mrs. Robinson, and thanked her.