Am I the only one here?

Dena Boyd
Lincoln, IL

In high school my Chinese friend, Zeyi, asked me to help her sell some Chinese food at the Chinese festival in Peoria called DuanWu Party. I went with her expecting to see of course many Chinese people and a few from other different ethnic groups. When we arrived and I helped her unload I scanned the area to see that I was the only white person there. I was not overly uncomfortable but I was uneasy. My friend tried her best to introduce me to people she knew but we all had a hard time understanding each other. I remember smiling a lot and having people smile back at me. I tried different kinds of food, which I had no idea what was in them. We all sat and ate and played some Chinese games, which was very fun. Once the party was over and I reflected on my experience I realized that I was the only white person there. I was the minority and I have never felt that way before. The places I go usually there are more than one white person. I wondered if that was how other people from different races felt when they are the minority.

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4 Responses to "Am I the only one here?"
  1. Zhang says:

    Yes. It often feels like that for me among the white majority. I teach now, and I see that my minority students, who include not only racial and ethnic minorities but also people distinguished by high intelligence, clothing and music tastes, and disabilities often feel similarly.
    My white friends tell me they get some of the same feeling just by traveling to some other parts of the US. That part’s about cultural difference. When you have the visual difference of race, it starts as soon as people see you.

  2. etk says:

    Dena, What an excellent story. I lived in Japan for nearly 20 years in an area that had very few non-Japanese. I would get so comfortable around my Japanese friends that I almost forgot my “otherness”. Then I would either say something in Japanese that was COMPLETELY incorrect…or go to another area where people didn’t know me, and then it was quite apparent I was NOT the same as everybody else.

    I think every single “white” person should have a an experience like ours{I am also white). I think it would cause people to think before they made some of the racial statements or pre-judgements they do.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. olblue9 says:

    Growing up “poor rural white” in the deep south with my “brown” best friend, race was not an important issue to me and my friends. Later when we were bused to the inner city “black” neighborhood we all witnessed a different culture. As a minority we were all targets of racial slurs on a daily basis. But I never allowed myself to blame an entire race for the behavior of a group of prejudice jerks in our school.

  4. White Light says:

    I grew up around a lot of Hispanics. Some of them were good people and I have fond memories of some of it. However I nevertheless felt out of place, constantly, and the destructive, ugly aspects of the culture were what made me racially conscious. I would never want my children to grow up around large numbers of Hispanics.

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