Tag Archive: experience


After reading this blog post, I just wanted to share some points that really hit home for me:

1. Alone, I appear threatening. If I’m in a group of others who look like me, that is a cause for some kind of suspicion or even panic.

5. When I go shopping, I can be sure I will arouse suspicion and be followed around.

6. I will be sure that when I turn on the TV, I will most likely see others who look like me as ball players, criminals, clowns or overall failures of society.

7. When I turn to the local news on tv or in a newspaper, I can be sure most of the crime reported will have faces of suspects who look like me.

9. I know that most of the history taught is of history of mainly white people.

13. I can be sure that whites will not listen to me when it comes to race and racism, and anytime I bring up the subject, it will likely meet with denial or opposition.

17. When children of my race are missing, I know the media will likely not pay too much, if any, attention to them.

18. I know during my lifetime, I will be taught that my race is inferior in some way, shape or form.

21. I know that the dropout rate for male children of my race is the highest among other races.

22. The way I look contributes to the way I should talk in order to be considered black. (Although I don’t care about this, people, even in my family, consider me ‘gringo’ and that I’m not Latino enough).

23. I know that making good grades and good manners are signs that I’m “acting white.”

27. I know that growing up, I will likely see poverty, drugs, violence and/or murder at least once.

30. I have a good chance of growing up in a single parent home.

31. I have at least one family member or relative who is either in prison or has been in prison, or I’ve known someone who is black that is or has been to prison.

35. I can be sure that I will be pulled over by police because of my race. (Which has happened. Because I have the privilege to go to different schools, our schedules are different and cops often think I’m cutting school.)

36. I can be sure that I will either be harassed, abused or even killed by police because of my race. (see comment above)

39. As a male I must marry within my race or be considered a sellout by my own people or someone going after “their” women by other races.

41. I know a new television series will have main characters that will not look like me.

42. I know that negative stereotypes about my people will continue despite a high number of those who do not fit those stereotypes. In other words I will be judged by the actions of a few.

44. I know that I will be a scapegoat for almost anything and everything wrong with this society. (just look at Arizona and the rhetoric there…)

45. I know that there will be movies featuring white people saving my people. (CURIOUS GEORGE! ‘White guy’ goes to Africa and saves ‘monkey’ from hir dysfunctional family…teaches the ‘monkey’ manners and how to behave. The ‘monkey’ goes back to Africa and disowns his family.)
49. I have to live with the fact that my true culture, language, history are stripped away, and the proof I have to live with is in my name. (My mom made a conscious decision about this. But I’m know by everyone else as Esteban. And my mom wants to change my last name legally to Sxxxxx-Cxxxxxxx after I graduate high school, it’s weird though a lot of my legal documents have both names).

51. As a female person of color the shade of my skin defines beauty. If my skin is dark or hair is nappy, then there’s a chance that I will be considered ugly by my peers. (I’m sometimes considered ugly because I have wavy/curly hair, which anyone with wavy/curly hair knows is hard to ‘manage’.)

53. As a child I can be sure that the newest cartoon series will not feature characters that look like me. If they do, they will likely be some form of negative stereotype.

59. I am assumed that any position I’m in is because of affirmative action and not on my own merits. (don’t even get me started…)

60. I have to live with the fact that I am not considered a “regular” person, or simply a person, that I am considered a black person. (Even though I’m mixed, because of the US’ ‘one drop rule’ I’m seen as black. And people like to play the ‘race-game’ instead of just asking…)

62. As a homosexual I am loathed by society more so than my white counterparts.

64. I know negative images about people who look like me are seen around the world.

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Experience at the UN

Yesterday, at the Youth Assembly at the UN, I saw that there were alot of students from China. I got enough courage to talk to some of them (by the way, I speak a decent amount of Mandarin Chinese). As always, they were very kind. -Fast forward- Today as I was leaving, the student that I talked to ran up to me and told me to wait. He told me I was the first person to go speak to him and that he was very glad that I did so. (As the Chinese do) He gave me a gift. He said the notebook helped him remember math formulas and study English for school and that he hopes I find the notebook helpful as well. He noted that it was his favorite favorite notebook. At the end he added that if I were to visit China again, his doors are open for me.

 

Me at the Great Wall of China

 

Arriving at the Beijing airport, I did not know what to expect nor did I see what I would become after the entire experience of being in China. I have been learning Chinese for two years, and I was very excited to actually go to China to finally be able to use the language with native speakers. I’ve never traveled outside or anywhere for that fact without someone I know. It was a bit of a terrifying thing to think about; being surrounded by people I just met. To my surprise, my group clicked instantly from the beginning. We were chatting and sharing things about ourselves very freely. I felt comfortable with myself being around my group members.

Throughout my trip to China, ‘Andy’ (my group leader), always said “expect the unexpected”. It really stuck with me while I was on the trip. When I arrived in Beijing, I was definitely not expecting the smog, the interesting foods that I encountered along the way, or the incredibly amiable people I would met on the way either. Talking with the locals, trying different foods that I will most likely never encounter in the United Sates really changed what I was willing to try or do.

A couple of months ago, if  you were to ask me, would I eat some food put in front of me that I don’t even know what it’s made of, I probably would have said no without any second thought.I would have given the same response with living in a mountain, since I have a fear of heights. I push farther out of the comfort zone, away from what I considered ‘outside of my comfort zone’. One of my earlier moments of leaving my comfort zone was doing ice-breaker games in the middle of a busy Beijing train station. We played pterodactyl, which involved making very strange noises very loudly, and played a dancing game.  When we started, all I could think is, “what are these people thinking about us, foreigners, acting strange in the middle of a crowded train station?” After a while, I simply stopped caring what everyone else was thinking and I concerned myself with how can I make this experience the best possible. I feel like I took these two lessons, of pushing myself further and breaking away from self-consciousness with me outside of the experience and I have been applying it with my daily life.

I feel that having so many diverse faces in my group helped me learn how to have a conversation with someone who is not like you or comes from a different part of the world. Although, I probably would not have talked to many of the kids in my group, but because of EIL, the summer program I was a part of, I have become great friends with people I never expected in a million years to become friends with. One of the eye-opening lessons that I learned was: you can become friends with just about anyone if you give them the chance to make that sort of impact on you. I had such wonderful experiences and stories to share regarding the people I met and the things we did. They have left such an impact on my life, there isn’t a day I don’t think about them. This is extremely cliché, but this has really been a life changing experience. The way I think about my life and myself is so different. I greatly appreciate all the new things I tried, all the things I was fortunate enough to participate in, and the outcome of my personality coming out of the China.