I am a Dominican girl from Ohio. Growing up for me has been eye opening. I can look at things from different perspectives. Granted that no one really likes to listen to me because I am a teenager but I still state my opinion whether people want to hear it or not.
As a child, I went to a Cleveland Public School for elementary school. Mind you, it was not bad. It was in the early 2000s so things were not as bad as people say it is now. All my classmates were different races. There were whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, etc. so it was pretty diverse. I had a blast and I learned a lot there.
Middle school was a different story. I went to a charter school which was 80%-90% white and the rest were minorities. My parents said that Cleveland schools were getting bad and were becoming “ghetto” because they were getting filled with black people. Even though they raised me to not discriminate or judge against any race, I slowly began to realize that they were being hypocrites.
High school was became worse. I have been going to the same high school since freshman year and it is also a charter school. Once again, the majority of my school is white and the minorities are just as small. To everyone, I “talk” and “act” white, which in my parents case means that I am speaking properly and professionally. The Cleveland Public Schools are filled with minorities and to my parents, that is why they have turned “ghetto” over the years. If it was up to me, I would want to go to a public school. I would want more diversity and with the school I am in now, I am not getting the opportunities that I could be getting. My parents do not care though.
Now I am a senior in high school. Throughout the years, I noticed that if we have a party, all our friends our white. Anybody who isn’t is most likely our family. My family thinks that my parents are trying to be white. I have noticed that my parents talk down on Dominicans (yes our own people), and other hispanics. Whenever someone dressed in urban clothes, my dad would consider them “ghetto” and if they were black, he would say “Those ghetto black people. They are so f*cking uneducated.” I would always yell at him because I know plenty of people who dress or talk a certain way but they certainly are educated. They are getting higher than 4.0’s and plenty of scholarships. If I point that out to my parents, they say they know and they have a few black or hispanic friends. Tokenism? I think so.
Of course there are the people who fuck up in every race, but my parents tend to generalize, A LOT! I do not think I generalize like them. I try not to judge people because I do not want to be a hypocrite like my parents. I want to treat everyone equally. I want to set an example for other people and give them a chance. I do not want to be the “white girl” though and no offense to anybody, but it is just, I feel like my parents are losing the essence of our culture and no longer want to be considered Dominican unless the family is around. And even with the family, it is so fake. They can easily turn their Dominican accent “on” and “off.” I just want to keep our traditions alive. I do not want to be completely “Americanized”. I just want to be me with all of the cultures and traditions that my family shows me.