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Army Family - Essay Example

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I had the fortunate experience of growing up with parents in the United States Army. By the time I was 12, I had lived in six different communities and on four continents. Much of this time was spent at an Army base in Germany, with shorter visits to Japan, Egypt, Alaska, California and Massachusetts…
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Army Family
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Download file to see previous pages I realized what color I was, but that really didn’t seem to affect anything in the communities where I was growing up. Base housing was very diverse and I realized that there were surely more white kids than black kids. But I also noticed that there were more black kids than Hispanic kids and Asian kids as well. I had friends, close friends, of all colors, as did my parents. We went over to the Hispanic family next door for supper and they cam to us. Only they weren’t ever viewed as Hispanic. They were just the Ramirez’s. I do remember going to some parties when I was a kid and all of us were the same race. I do remember thinking, “This is weird. Where are the Ramirez’s?” I have no idea if these parties were planned so that everybody was the same race as my parents or not, but I sort of doubt it. So I guess what I am trying to say is, as a kid growing up in military housing, I never though about race at all, mine or anyone else’s. When I arrived in North Carolina, I first became aware of race. For one thing, I noticed that people of the same color tended to stay together. There seemed to be a rule that said people of different colors didn’t mix. I noticed it right away and asked my mother about it. She simply said that things are different everywhere and that in North Carolina, that’s just the way it was. ...
and Asian kids apparently just had to figure out something else to do than have friends because there weren’t many of them on base at that time in North Carolina. I can honestly say I didn’t try to challenge the rule in any way. When you are new to a base, the kids that approach you first are the kids that become your friends. When only kids of your same race approach you, well then that is the friends you have. I remember thinking it was weird at first, and then after a year it was perfectly normal. The second lesson about race I learned was that some races are better than others at certain things. Black kids can run fast and dance best. They listen to rap music and play basketball. White kids are smartest and are better at sports like baseball. Hispanic kids play soccer and have lots of sisters and brothers. For the first time, I was introduced to racial stereotypes and this I struggled with. I didn’t fit into the definition of any of these races. I was smart, awesome at basketball and had five brothers and sisters. I could have been white, black or Hispanic. But for the first time, I felt like I had to downplay an aspect of who I was because I had to conform to somebody else’s notion of what I ought to be based on my race. The final thing I learned about race in North Carolina is that people of different races had nasty names for each other. It was in North Carolina that I heard racial epithets, from all races, for the first time. Perhaps I was incredibly sheltered growing up. I can say that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I feel as though I still have a lot of that pre-North Carolina person in me. I still see color, not race. I have a more nuanced understanding of what race means in a societal context, but the reality is I still am largely unaware of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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