JUAN CARLOS VALLE
June 17, 2017
ARDYN WOLFE
June 17, 2017

MONICA CHRISTOFFELS

“I don’t really feel like an immigrant because I grew up here in the US after coming here as a baby. I only notice I’m an “other” when I go to the airports expecting a certain level of increased scrutiny at security checkpoints or if I happen to be the only person of color in a room of middle-aged white people – very common in Eugene, Oregon. It’s definitely a strong dose of reality when it happens but thankfully it’s few and far enough in between that I’m able to recognize my treatment is much better than that received by those with darker skin than mine or heavy accents (I have none).

But then I go to the Philippines and I basically feel like a white person because I don’t speak Tagalog and don’t even really have a desire to learn it – very uncommon for any sort of Filipino. The “other” side becomes more distinctly American when I compare my college drop-out career path to practically any person my age from the Philippines who followed the traditional, obedient path of honor student at higher education institutions….

so I get to straddle two worlds: not fully American but not from the US either. It’s too bad racism is still so flagrant in our society and daily lives because there are so, so many more important things we should be focusing on now. I’m thankful my situation is at least livable – I personally don’t have to worry about being shot on the street by a police officer – but I know there’s no way I’ll be able to stay silent on injustices endured by other ethnicities because I too know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. I hope we can start having those hard conversations that’ll move us past these issues in 2017, but in reality I know it will take a lifetime (maybe even more than that) to overcome the hate and prejudice sown into this country.”

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