I look white; perception is reality.

Mary Halling,
Milwaukee, WI.

Moving from New York to Ohio to Milwaukee in my 25 years on this Earth, I’ve encountered race in so many different ways. From celebrating and learning about all the different ethnicities in my classroom in elementary school, being bullied for being white in my urban middle school, to being incorrectly perceived as being “just like” my upper-class white counterparts at Miami University in Ohio, to working for an education/social-justice non-profit in hyper-segregated Milwaukee, I’ve learned how much race truly is a social construct. It’s something that is learned from our environments and the people in those environments. Being perceived as ‘white’ has yielded me an overwhelming amount of privilege, and it makes me feel sad that if people recognized my mixed identity (I’m partly Native American), I may not have been afforded those privileges. But, maybe, those girls in middle school would’ve been nicer to me?


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