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Where friends from home had laughed in my face, believing my taste in guys had somehow done a 180 as a result of moving to the city, black guys I currently went to school with were intrigued.
I began receiving attention from darker skinned guys, one even proclaiming with a wink that he had “never had a white girl before” as if conquering a white girl is some badge of honor or just something to check off a list.
I felt a certain pride in hanging out with people who were Dominican, Indonesian, Laos, Filipino, Hispanic, etc. My parents taught me good morals, like not judging others by their appearance, though I did have to keep my jaw clenched when I visited relatives.
They would ask me about the “colored kids” at my job as a camp counselor and spoke the word “bi-racial” in hushed tones, as if it were something to be ashamed of.
The most significant difference among them is that this Rochester belongs to a New England state that is listed in bold when you Google “Least diverse state.” If you flip through my year book from senior year, you will count 3 black students in my class, only one of them being male.
Although New Hampshire is over 94% “white alone”, (and zero percent Native American) my high school proudly flaunts the Red Raider mascot, a stereotypical Native American with a face tinted blood red (Census Bureau, 2014).
” didn’t become frequently asked questions until I began attending school at Towson University (TU) as a freshman.
” I became known as that girl who was only interested in dark men and suddenly, the body that took me years to become comfortable with became one I was questioning again.
“You have no a**, Erica” one guy commented at one of these parties as LL Cool J’s “Big Ole Butt” blasted through speakers, while another told me he was willing to deal with my lack of a chest because I had “an a** like a dancer.” Many of the songs on the radio by black artists seemed to put emphasis on parts of the body that I was lacking.
This was the place I was born and raised; where nobody had to whisper the “n word” or hesitate to stick some feathers in their hair and paint their skin red as a sign of school spirit.
Growing up in New Hampshire didn’t prevent me from making friends or dating guys who weren’t white.
How many times had I said “Mom, I met this guy, he’s white”?