How would you describe yourself?
Anonymous: I’d describe myself as a 52-year-old, Puerto Rican woman who was raised half of her years in Gary, Indiana (until 5th grade) then moved to a very white town called Hobart in Indiana where I lived until I was 24-years-old. I identify myself as Pentecostal. Although I identify as being Pentecostal, I also identify myself as being “Presbycostal” on occasions, as I have worked in a Presbyterian Seminary for 18 years. I consider myself to be ecumenical in the sense that I may think more differently that the traditional Pentecostal.
Race: Puerto Rican
Birth Decade: 1960s
Does race matter?
Anonymous: Yes, I believe race does matter very much. I am Puerto Rican, however, if you’d look at me you probably would not identify me as being so. I am white with hazel green eyes and (now) grey hair.
My race matters to me because although I look one way on the outside, I clearly identify with the three races that “make-up” a Puerto Rican: African-American, Spaniard, and Taino Indian.
“My race matters to me because although I look one way on the outside, I clearly identify with the three races that “make-up” a Puerto Rican: African-American, Spaniard, and Taino Indian.”
How regularly/often do you engage in conversations about race?
Anonymous: Whenever I’m given an opportunity to do so, I talk about issues such as this. These are not easy conversations to have, because many don’t really get it. However, these are not conversations that I avoid should they arise.
Growing up, to what extent did your family educate you about your race and/or other races?
Anonymous: We were not raised to judge people by their color in our household. Our neighbors and friends were of different races. We were taught to treat everyone equally.
“We were not raised to judge people by their color in our household. Our neighbors and friends were of different races. We were taught to treat everyone equally.”
If you’ve ever been treated differently because of your race, can you describe any relevant experiences?
Anonymous: I can really only remember once. Like I said, I was always around African Americans, even in college. I remember I stayed a weekend with my friend Reesie; we went shopping and the stares I received while I was with her.
What frustrates you the most about racism and/or racists?
Anonymous: What frustrates me is their way of thinking! Who made anyone superior? Who made anyone the best? Don’t they realize that their hate is evil and a sin?
The other thing that frustrates me is that sometimes we are all in a category because of how we look on the outside, when how we feel and how we are on the inside is very different. There is a tendency to put people and define all into one group. I am very white with green eyes on the outside, but extremely conscious of the three races that make me who I am.
When did you first realize that your race and/or cultural identity mattered?
Anonymous: My mom raised us culturally aware of who we were. At home you always heard salsa music playing, and in the car we’d have radio stations like 107.5 playing, etc. However, it wasn’t until I attended a CrossRoads training that I realized exactly what racism is, and how my “whiteness” is quite privileged.
In your educational experiences, did you learn anything about race? If so, what did you learn? What resonated with you?
Anonymous: When I took the CrossRoads Anti-Racism training, I learned a lot about race. I learned what systematic racism is. How neighborhoods are “set up” to have food desserts, things like fast food restaurants in the area, along with liquor stores, etc. This was an eye opener for me. I often say that I used to be innocent, until I took that CrossRoads training.
“When I took the CrossRoads training, I learned a lot about race. I learned what systematic racism is. How neighborhoods are ‘set up’ to have food desserts, things like fast food restaurants in the area, along with liquor stores, etc. This was an eye opener for me.”
How would you define racism?
Anonymous: To be honest, after the training, I defined racism as the Devil– literally Satan. As a Pentecostal, we often refer to spiritual warfare. I remember saying that racism is like Satan: he sneaks up on you, he attacks you, and you don’t even realize that this evil is what is really taking place. I believe that racism is an evil in every which way. I can’t think of any other way to explain it. NO ONE deserves to be treated differently because of their race, color, skin, class, etc.
Anonymous: If you post this in June, can you please add this picture? This month is the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting that happened two years ago.
49 people were killed and 53 were injured in what has been the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history (or at least it was in 2016).
***If you liked this post, feel free to check out these others. Let me know if you’d like to be featured in any of the upcoming Perspectives pieces!
- Perspectives on Race #8: Kat, From Serbia
- Perspectives on Race #7: Vern, From New Jersey, “Just My Thoughts”
- Perspectives on Race #6: James, From Trinidad
- Perspectives on Race #5: White Like Me
- Perspectives on Race #4: Cat, On Checking Both Boxes
- Perspectives on Race #3: Anonymous in Maryland
- Perspectives on Race #2: Jamie, From the Midwest
- Perspectives on Race #1: Black, Muslim & Tired
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