The Inner Struggle

Race — “An arbitrary classification of modern humans, sometimes, especially formally, based on any or a combination of various physical characteristics, such as skin color, facial form, or eye shape, and now frequently based on such genetic markers as blood groups.”

Race — “A socially constructed category of identification based on physical characteristics, ancestry, historical affiliation, or shared culture.”

Do you struggle with issues related to race and ethnicity?  I do. My struggle with these issues began more than 20 years ago. Actually, it began much earlier than that, but the dawning of these issues as perplexing and beyond my wisdom to figure out, started in young adulthood. I remember one of these first moments of struggle and the inner conflict that ensued. I was sitting in one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Chicago with a group of friends. Really, I felt on top of the world. I recently completed a master’s degree, my career was progressing nicely, and I was still a size 6 despite my “big buckets of food” habits! As the evening progressed I suddenly realized that the patrons of this popular restaurant were vastly white, and the wait staff were vastly minority. “That’s not right, what’s going on?” I said to myself. I began to feel sad, humbled, diminished, and a little dumb. Through other such revelations I finally realized that my successes were not completely rooted in whatever intelligence, talent, and work ethic I possessed, it was also deeply rooted in my skin color and economic status. I’m a white girl with an upper middle class upbringing. I had always been waited on and rarely expected to wait on others.

As I thought back on my life I realized it had always been this way. Since that night in Chicago I have been on a journey to understand race and ethnicity. This journey has taken me to impoverished communities, the Third World, and back to graduate school. The purpose of this blog is to tell you about this journey, its struggles, and discoveries. I hope that this blog supports your own journey and struggles. Are you struggling with issues related to race and ethnicity? Or, are you resolute and at peace with your beliefs/opinions regarding race and the complicated, tragic stories that continue to unfold before us in the media? Honestly, if you are not struggling, I strongly suggest you thoughtfully start.

THE POINT: Set aside what you think you know and open your heart and mind to struggle and grow.