I’m American Indian, African American, German, Polish, Hungarian and Irish. I never met my biological father who had the American Indian and African American genes so growing up in an all white family has certainly set a certain tone for the rest of my life. I was so loved by my family as a child that I never really questioned my ethnicity or the whereabouts of my biological father. I was a very happy boy. Throughout the years the majority of my friends were all white and those that were close and knew me well had told me on a few occasions that the color of my skin was never a thought to them. How we perceive the world, how we talk, act and think can largely be traced back to our home-life and parents as young children so I almost literally thought of myself as white with real tan skin. So much so that I didn’t really even start paying much attention to my actual ethnicity until my high school years and even then, I really didn’t care much. My mom always told me to be proud of my “beautiful” skin and that I was! Very proud. As a result of this, I learned to appreciate the fact that I was different than the majority. I was always well received in school, had great friends so my self-esteem was untouched by any racial negativity that I occasionally stumbled upon. Years later, things began to change at the start of my early 20’s when I began to pay more attention to the social world we live in and the true power of our media, especially around election time in 2008. These events and times opened my eyes to exactly how present racism still is in our country. This reality is nothing less than hurtful to come to terms with but there is also other factors that come into play. It seems to me that there’s generally a newer more updated type of racism these days that I like to call ‘racism 2.0.’ If you talk, walk and function like a white person, you’re an acceptable minority. Your chances of being well-received by the majority are much better under these circumstances. I often wonder if this is merely related to our evolution as human beings, the media or our up-bringing as children. If asked, I would certainly put money down on all three.
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