Racism is not a harmless joke

Sofia Cuenca Rojas,
Acworth, GA

I am Hispanic and due in great part to my parents, who I am thankful for, I have been protected from racism for the majority of my life. And yet when someone makes what they would consider a harmless joke, safely from the other side of a wall they use to separate “us” and “them”, even when I have not personally been grievously wronged, or done what was talked about, or was even the recipient of the comment, I still remember it after 5 years.
I was in PE in the second half of the semester and there were two boys- one Hispanic like me, and one white- who were best friends. They spent all class together and were known by several other of my peers as very good friends. One day, we were all outside running the mile when the boys passed by me in conversation and I happened to overhear one of them ridicule the other for being so out of breath by saying, “Why are you so slow? You’re Mexican, you guys run the border all the time!”

That one, off-hand comment cut deep.


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