Subconsciously, I’m afraid. I hate it.

Ian Cyr
Springfield, VA

I read once, that those of us who are white and in our late 20’s and early 30’s (and probably those outside that age range) have been put in a difficult position by society. We’ve grown up being taught one thing – tolerance, equality, etc., while at the same time, growing up with the lingering effects of racism still present in society. Consciously we’ve been taught to love, while subconsciously we’ve been taught to fear. We want to overcome the prejudice we see in society, yet we’re not entirely free of it ourselves. It’s something I struggle with often, and I hate myself for it – for having any thoughts that rely on a perception of race, especially in the negative. Everyone deserves to be treated equal, and the fact that I sometimes fail at that makes me angry at myself.

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One Response to "Subconsciously, I’m afraid. I hate it."
  1. Jordan Lewis says:

    This is amazing and captures how I feel, but for different reasons. I’m from India, but I was adopted and raised by a mother who is of Italian/French heritage and a father who is of Italian/Portuguese heritage. In California, I was raised in a place where the difference between my prevailing culturalization and outward appearance were never an issue. Expectations and ideas about me were based on my words and skill-sets. However, now that a two year position has placed me in Oklahoma City (as a public school teacher), I have begun to become aware that people actually believe many of the stereotypes about people who appear Indian, and aren’t afraid to voice those opinions. I have been asked publicly, “do you know where excellent Indian food is here?”, and “oh, are you here to fix the computers?” (while I was really only there to pick up my roommate from her work). The result has almost been a fear to interact with people when in Oklahoma City because of how ideas about my personhood are projected and voiced around me. It is strange being a hybrid person in a place where people are often expecting pure-bred. I’d never internalized my outward race until this past year, and I honestly hate that feeling, nor would I want anyone else to feel in such a way.

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