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But who are you? When you look in the mirror, who stares back at you with eyes full of wonder, mystery, and knowledge? If you had to describe yourself, what community, race, or cultural terms would you use for yourself?
I am a blonde haired, blue-eyed, midwestern European American woman. My looks have put me into a privileged position and I know this now. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with it and I am not totally at peace with it, but there it is.

I always took for granted that I would be treated with respect, that I would go to college, that I would settle into a comfortable middle-class job and raise a family just as my parents did.

One thing I've realized recently is that although I've worked to get where I am, where I am now is much more a product of what I was born with than what I've done. My race is part of that. Recently I've thought hard about the other parts of my identity too - what it means to be a woman, to be shy and book-smart, to be blonde and thin and cute, and how shy, book-smart people who are not blonde and thin and cute have a rougher go of things than I did. It's not fair. I'm a future science teacher, and I want to see all my students have an equal chance to do whatever they want. Each student needs to believe that he or she is worthy and capable and good. That is a really hard concept to teach.

My culture is midwestern/white and rooted in family. Family traditions, holidays, meals, and gatherings continue to be a huge part of our life even though both my husband and me live hundreds of miles from our families.

When other people or institutions in the community describe you, what racial terms do they give for the complexity of your lived experience? Do you use the same descriptions as others? If not, why do you think there are differences?
I think so. In our community, suburban professionals here in the West, there is so little cultural diversity that when you talk about someone you automatically assume they are white unless someone says otherwise or unless their last name is Spanish. Some in my race feel that we don't have a culture or an identity, but we do. It's just that it is so dominant in the community and media that we don't recognize it.
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