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I spent this summer in Northern Georgia. I moved there for three months to visit some family. It wasn’t my first time visiting but this summer transformed the way I thought about race in today’s society. With events such as the Charlottesville protests that occurred this summer I finally saw how ugly our society is, or can be.

For most of my life I have lived in a community where almost everyone is Hispanic/Latino and race or the color of one’s skin doesn’t matter. I grew up reading about racism in history books but never personally experienced it. As I got older I began to realize that it is still a real problem that people of color deal with everyday. Social media has made a huge impact in exposing racism and its very real occurrences everyday.

I traveled to Georgia and never expected to experience discrimination based on the color of my skin or the language I spoke. For the most part my experience was great in Georgia; there are plenty of amazing people that truly don’t care about race, color, or where you came from. I would go about my day like I would any other day. Unfortunately, just as there were those who don’t care about race or ethnicity, there some who did. There were some who felt superior to me because of their skin color. I learned that despite being in 2017, in a supposedly progressive society there are still many areas in which we as a society need to improve. We need to start taking care of ourselves, being nicer to each other, and nicer to our planet.

I would walk into stores and get dirty looks, I would speak Spanish with my sister and get dirty looks, I was being judged by my appearance and culture and it disgusted me. I couldn’t believe people still had this archaic mentality. My sister had one experience at her workplace where a customer refused to speak to or be attended by her because she is brown. After hearing her tell me this I became mad, and confused. I asked myself why do people still act/think this way? What’s the big deal? We are all human, what makes you better than I am? What makes you superior? Why are you scared of me?

I write this in hopes of encouraging an open conversation about the true ugliness that others experience everyday. I am lucky I get to come back to an accepting community, my sister doesn’t, others will still get those dirty looks, my nephews still have to go to school where they get called names because of the color of their skin. Get educated and make a difference. As cliché as this is, be the change you want to see in the world. 

UTRGV Class of 2018  Mass Comm Major Mexican-American Studies Minor
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