Kent P. Keller, DBA
Race and My Community
In this autobiography essay I will be talking about the different racial issues in my home town of Pulaski, NY, and the people that surround me and who I interact with daily. I will also talk about if my community looks like me, if the different races in the community are treated the same or if they are treated differently. How the local community leaders treat people like myself, the similarities and differences between them and myself. I will also discuss any inequities that maybe within my community and what main concepts from my text relate to my racial group.
I am a 31 year old White Caucasian female; I live in a little community in the Central New York Region. I have lived here in Pulaski, NY from the time I was first brought home from the hospital, then raised in this small community village and have lived here ever since. The Village was named in 1820 after General Count Casimir Pulaski, who was a Polish revolutionary and aide to General Washington. Pulaski incorporated on April 26, 1832 (Cusyck, 2011). The majority of members of my community, as well as myself, are the dominate race of the community here in Pulaski, which are white. The US Census Bureau latest results say the total white population here is 2,009, Black or African Americans 42, Asian Indian 24, Mexican 11, Puerto Rican 5, other Hispanic or Latino 33, and then there is the group of two or more races at 13 people (U.S. Census Bureau - American fact Finder, 2009). These different races make up our little Village and even with my race being the dominate population here we have a mixed diversity of races here. During my school years we only had one or two African Americans and maybe an Asian descendant in my school. Everyone got along and accepted them into our groups as one of us. I never looked at them any differently and they never looked at me any differently, we were who we were and we accepted that. The year after I graduated High School, my brother was in tenth grade and they had a new African American family move here from a city, which had three children that joined the school. Unfortunately the son, which was in my brother’s grade, brought the city school attitude with him. He started racially slurring many of the boys in his grade and others in the school, even my brother. He was suspended and actually had discrimination charges brought against him by a few of the boys families, because what he said and did to their sons. His family moved away a few months after, with their son suspended indefinitely from the school district, and on probation, with more charges pending. It was sad because they were a wonderful family, trying to get their children away from racism in the school, but their son could not move past what he had already learned and experienced in his previous school. This brought racial issues to a school that had not seen them before and to students that had never experienced them before either. The leader’s in my community that are on our village Board of Electives include five people, which four are Caucasian and the fifth is of Hispanic race, and then our Mayor which is also Caucasian. Our village government, as far as I have ever seen, been told about and researched, has always been fair and equal to everyone that has ever had an issue or problem, no matter their race or beliefs. In the recent year we have been experiencing an increase in Amish population. Our community has not only welcomed the new families to our community with open arms and helped them settle into our community comfortably. The members of our community tend to do this with every new family that comes into our community. Once a month we have a community dinner which is a way to meet and keep in touch with our fellow neighbors. I have seen many different people, whether they are white or not, be welcomed and treated just as any other would have been. I have personally never had an issue with someone that is different than myself. I guess you can say that I am and will always be colored blind when it comes to people being different. Having been raised in a small close community I never had to worry about racism in my school or among my friends. We saw each other as people, not as different races or colors. I see people for who they are on the inside, not what they look like on the outside and I have never treated them any different than I would anyone else. Being part of the national minority group, I have never seen any work manuals that contain information about white Caucasians, like myself. The ones that I have seen have always contained information about minority groups. As for my class textbook, this was the first text book that I had ever seen that talked about Caucasians, but it did not surprise me that it did not talk in depth about my race, but more about the minority groups. I am part of the dominate group, so I don’t really need to know that much about my culture and background. But I do need to know more about the minorities, because this can then help me to better understand them and where they come from. Hopefully this understanding will help to bridge the gaps between our races. The local media in my community is, The Salmon River News, which is our main village paper. The Salmon River Newspaper staff in made out of mainly Caucasians, with a minority of a few Asian reporters, but this does not stop them from treating anyone differently than anyone else. When they are reporting they will not discriminate against someone else just because of the color of their skin or religious beliefs. They will report on the facts and any correct information that they may have been given. When we had a recent shooting/murder last August, the newspaper reported as efficiently as possible and did not discriminate against the guy that killed the others; they reported exactly on what had happened and any more updates on the topic. They stuck to the facts and kept it simple. I have never personally read anything in their newspaper that has been racial, controversial or has wrongly accused someone. There are very little differences between myself and the people who are in leadership positions in my community. They are all white for the exception of one, so they are mostly all white like myself. I am much younger than most of them and for the one exception I am a different race. But they do not see themselves as being different colors or ages, they see themselves as a normal group of electives that want to make our village a better place tom live. Minority group interests are definitely represented within my community. We have incorporated English language classes at our high school for the few minorities that do live in the area and plus the surrounding areas. The Amish have also immigrated to our area recently and our community has adapted to their needs. Every business in our town has places tie post hitches up for the horse and buggies that the Amish travel in. If there was one inequity that I think that our community needs to change, that thing would be that we need more diversity in our board of electives. I know of a few diverse people within our community that has wonderful ideas of how to improve our village in many different ways. I have actually offered one of them to help him run and help support him while he was running. I think he is going to run this coming election, which is great, because he has many great ideas that I think will help our economy grow and bring more money and jobs to our little town once more. When I was in tenth grade I had to do a report on Pulaski and the people who live in it and I interviewed my neighbor Charles (Chuck) Bailey. Chuck had grown up in Pulaski and had a long line of descendants who have lived here, dating back to almost the beginning of the Village. Chuck told me about how his descendants have seen our village grow from a group of eight families to what we have now. They had seen many different races, groups, and cultures come here and then move on. “My family has seen the dark days when the KKK (legal-dictionary, n.a.) was established here for a short time. My ancestors were part of the Underground Railroad, which ran through our town (Oswego.EDU, n.d.), which parts still remain throughout the area. Only until recently had my family started to notice the increase in different races coming and staying here at our little village.” (C. Bailey, personal communication, January, 1995) when he stated this I didn’t really know what he was talking about, but once I researched more, only then did I see what he was talking about. We have so much history here and now more diversity in our community now than we ever did before, but it took stepping back and looking to even notice it. Pulaski, New York is a small village with a majority count of white Caucasians, with a small diverse assortment of races. My community embraces new people to our village no matter what race they are. They also help any new comers adapt to our village whether it be English classes or something as simple as hitch posts. Whether it is the community, the village electives, or even our schools, my town embraces and accepts and helps minorities strive in our village. Many people have been in my town for generations and some as the first settlers. No matter what race I am, I am the same as anyone else on the inside. This is why learning about minorities, cultures and races are so important to learn, because knowledge is power. The more you know about these groups the more you will understand and accept them as they truly are.
Cusyck, M. (2011, February). Village of Pulaski. Retrieved from http://villiagepulaski.org/content/ Oswego.EDU. (n.d.). Freedom Trail - Underground Railroad. Retrieved from http://www.oswego.edu/ugrr/ U.S. Census Bureau - American fact Finder. (2009, Spring). Retrieved from http://f legal-dictionary. (n.a.). Ku Klux Klan. Retrieved from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com.Ku+Klux+Klan