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While some people smiled at us as we held hands in D. or walked side by side around the Inner Harbor, others just stared with disapproving eyes.
The thing is, people were tolerant, but they were not always accepting.
I was running around my house in a black one piece bathing suit and remember looking down at my stomach, thinking that it stuck out too much.
I immediately sprinted outside in the daylight to get a better look and make sure I wasn’t fat.
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).
Gay, bisexual, straight, transgender, black, white, Asian, it was there and it was beautiful. “I can’t believe you dumped me for a n*%$#@.” Telling your parents about your new boyfriend is hard enough when his skin is the same color as yours, but it becomes even more difficult when he is at the opposite end of the color spectrum as you.
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.
It put me in a box, limiting me in ways I didn’t realize until recently.
The more attention I received from black men, the less white men wanted to talk to me, as if I had been eternally branded as a traitor.