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The most significant difference among them is that this Rochester belongs to a New England state that is listed in bold when you Google “Least diverse state.” If you flip through my year book from senior year, you will count 3 black students in my class, only one of them being male.
Although New Hampshire is over 94% “white alone”, (and zero percent Native American) my high school proudly flaunts the Red Raider mascot, a stereotypical Native American with a face tinted blood red (Census Bureau, 2014).
I felt a certain pride in hanging out with people who were Dominican, Indonesian, Laos, Filipino, Hispanic, etc. My parents taught me good morals, like not judging others by their appearance, though I did have to keep my jaw clenched when I visited relatives.
They would ask me about the “colored kids” at my job as a camp counselor and spoke the word “bi-racial” in hushed tones, as if it were something to be ashamed of.
Fitting into this lifestyle felt more natural to me than living in Rochester ever did.
I began attending parties where I was one of the few white people.
Guys would approach me, rarely avoiding grabbing my butt or asking the question, “So you like black guys?
This was the place I was born and raised; where nobody had to whisper the “n word” or hesitate to stick some feathers in their hair and paint their skin red as a sign of school spirit.
Growing up in New Hampshire didn’t prevent me from making friends or dating guys who weren’t white.