Growing Up Around Different Races
August 27, 2014
I appreciated the way my parents raised me with all kinds of different kids.
When I was about to start elementary school, they sponsored a family from Thailand. They were escaping a worn-torn area and they had two kids and they later had another one. The kids were Charlie and Gloria. They were always really nice and I always had fun with Charlie. In fact, I could probably tell you wild stories of the crazy things we did in Maui, La Jolla, movie theaters, shopping malls, at school, and around our neighborhoods, but I digress.
Charlie and I played sports together; mainly soccer. My dad coached us at the Boys Club of El Cajon. Now it’s the Boys and Girls Club. Since kids could come from other private schools, public schools and homeschools to play sports, we met all kinds of different people. Some were Mexican and others were French, Jewish, Iranian, etc. I also played indoor soccer and basketball there.
In our Christian school, there were only a couple of black people. Everyone knew them and liked them and they were typically really nice, funny, and great athletes. This was the case for my private, Christian elementary school, junior high school, and high school. I attended Valhalla high school for the second half of my junior year and senior year of high school and I attended San Diego State University, which was all very diverse.
I used to hang out with a gay black guy who worked at Zales in Lynchburg, but once again, I digress.
While at SDSU, I joined a fraternity called Kappa Alpha Order and we did stuff together nearly every day. Founded in the deep south, it started very white and our house was the most diverse in the country. I’m stoked to say one of my best friends from KA is a black guy named Bobby Cherry and I still keep in touch with him on Twitter and I see him from time to time. He is a heck of a bassist and we jam together.
Now I live in Long Beach and it’s extremely diverse here like it was in many parts of San Diego. Compared to some towns in Utah, for instance, where nearly everyone is white, Southern California’s diversity and harmony would probably startle them. It’s like Los Angeles or New York, which are cities also known for their diversity.
Since I grew up that way, exposed to different kinds of kids and since I was raised as an only child, I just see everyone the same. I’ve never met anyone who looks like me and maybe that’s part of it, but probably not. I easily and quickly accept people of any race. This can perplex people because I can already warm up to people quickly because I’m an only child. I’m used to dealing with adults, just like any only child could attest to.
I have noticed that white people have started to become the minority in Southern California. I don’t care, but it’s a fact. It’s a melting pot and apparently the Mexican, Asian, and African American populations have been growing faster than the whites have. I recall my dad forecasting this many years ago. We should keep in mind the Mexicans were here way before white people came.
I appreciate the fact that I’m colorblind. I’m confident and I don’t feel threatened by anyone anyway. Nonetheless, it feels good to avoid letting anyone else’s race get in my way of befriending them and treating them equally. Racial prejudice just brings people down and it stifles growth. It’s really foolish. However, I realize some people like to be separate and feel more comfortable with people of their own race and I don’t see anything wrong with that either.
When I’m out, sometimes I notice little racial tiffs by people’s expressions. Sometimes I’m sitting right in between two people having one. It’s a little awkward and I usually give them a look like, “C’mon already.” If they keep it up, I look at them both like, “I wouldn’t hang out with either of you two fools”. And then they usually grow up and stop. I think it was probably something inherited from their upbringing as they watched their parents interact with other races. There could be other reasons too, like their personal experiences.
I was married to a Palestinian, Armenian, and Lebanese girl for 10 years. Her father was born in Palestine before they fled to Lebanon and she was born in Beirut. Spending time with Sarine’s family gave me insight into Arab culture.
I thought this was an important blog to write because some people don’t understand why I’m so comfortable with everyone; especially people of other races.