Growing Up in a Different Era

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The culture I was raised in was definitely different than the California culture. I was born and raised in Indiana. Back in the early 90s, I remember being an eight year old boy going to visit my best friend. When I arrived at his home, I walked in to roughly ten adults having a meeting. Intrigued by what they could be talking about, I ease dropped from the next room. What I heard next has always stayed in my mind.

I listened to these adults talk about the first black family moving into our neighborhood. These adults were showing an extreme amount of concern for what this would mean to the rest of the neighborhood. I did not understand why everyone was upset and worried about this. As I continued to listen, one of the adult males commented “it will only be a matter of time before they take over the whole neighborhood.” Everyone else agreed, followed by several racial slurs. I began to understand what they were saying. Where I grew up, racism was a part of the norm. I had never been exposed to these beliefs because my parents did not have the same feelings, as most white families in that era. The message was simple, hatred for people different from us.

When I began my teenage years, I was slowly being swayed into feeling this way. Growing up, a lot of my friends felt this way and I guess you could say it “rubbed off’ onto me. I found myself making little racial comments whether it be in front of others or individual thoughts that I kept to myself. I allowed myself to be “brainwashed’ by my environment. I had allowed myself to fall into a cultural pattern, instead of coming to my own conclusions. I did not keep these thoughts long, yet I was disappointed in myself for a long time for having these feelings. In Indiana, black people were perceived to be of lesser class/statue and white people were supposed to be the upper class. This was the culture I was raised in.

These are perceptions white people have had in Indiana for a long time....
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