Home. The Projects. White and confused.

Dolores Zacconi
San Francisco, CA

Growing up in the projects as one of the ” 5% white”, had a profound impact on my life; sometimes I was accepted, sometimes I wasn’t. I never felt like I “belonged”; I didn’t play in the playground on the projects’ grounds; I didn’t hang out in the corridors or the benches outside; I never visited the “community rooms” in the basements of the buildings. My parents were very active in the Tenants’ Council; they were the ones whom the black delegates hoped the City Housing Authority would listen to because they were white.

But, I didn’t feel comfortable or accepted when the other children got together without me. Yet, I shared my K-12 years of school with many of my friends who lived in the buildings, and was even bussed when integration became law. My other school friends really didn’t know where I lived. I never invited them over as I was ashamed of our apartment…and the few times I did, at least one parent refused to have her daughter visit me because I lived in “THE PROJECTS”.
But, NOW, I understand. Now, I can relate. Now, I would not have traded my life’s experiences for anything. I am not confused any more, just grateful.


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