Midterm(white identity)

Midterm(white identity) - My White Identity Growing up in...

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My White Identity Growing up in Boyertown – a town historically known for its affiliation with the KKK – there was very little diversity. While you no longer saw KKK members passing out pamphlets on the street by the time I reached high school, you also didn’t see many black families warming up to the area. While we didn’t really have a black community, the school district always made it a point to make sure we were aware of racism – perhaps in an effort to eliminate the historical perception that our town and schools were racist. They even went as far as getting our school into the “No Place for Hate” program and having “unity walks.” I don’t think the programs really changed anybody’s views on race, they just made us aware of how racist we were – and we embraced it. Almost every racist joke ended with “I’m just joking I’m not racist,” a pause, and then “well I guess I kind of am, but it’s ok – I’m from Boyertown.” Aside from its racism, Boyertown isn’t a very interesting place. Because of this, we spent most of our free time in neighboring Pottstown – an area with a much larger black community. Whenever you were at a Pottstown restaurant with a group of Boyertown friends you always did a quick scan of the area before opening your mouth to tell the story of your rare encounter with a black person. The worst was when you forgot to scan the room, loudly told your story, then found your friends giving you the “they’re sitting right behind you glare.” As much as surface racism was an everyday part of life in Boyertown, it never went beyond the “jokes.” Despite knowing that these jokes may have offended some, no one intended them too. In fact, having a friend of another race was almost a “cool” thing
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during high school. There were so few people of varying race that having one as a friend was something special. This being said, it was very exciting when, as a senior, I finally had a class with a black sophomore named Shebin. The class was CUB, our school newspaper, and was made up of a very small group where everyone got to know everybody else fairly well. Shebin, however, kept to himself. The other kids in the class and I were very unsettled by this. He couldn’t possibly just be shy – it must have been because we were white.
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course EDUCATION 819 taught by Professor Polchinski during the Spring '11 term at Temple.

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Midterm(white identity) - My White Identity Growing up in...

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