Breaking the Race Barrier

Breaking the Race Barrier

360 Magazine
Ithica College

Danielle Torres

“I’m Puerto Rican.”

That’s usually what I say when people ask a second time where I am from. The first time someone asks me that question I usually say, “I’m from New York.” Then the person rephrases the question, “What are you? What is your background?”

I come from a Puerto Rican family that is short and loud. Actually, I’m a little West Indian, too, on my mother’s side. I also say I’m Hispanic but I have been told that label falls under ethnicity. I’m a little displaced when it comes to the question of race. Growing up, my family used to chuckle about the race section on the Census. We always lingered on that section a bit longer than the others trying to decide what box or boxes we should check off.

In 2009, when I was a freshman at Ithaca College, none of my peers cared about the Census. It was just another survey and spring finals were coming up. Yet, although it was a single sheet of paper, I felt that it was another symbol of young adulthood. It was my turn to decide for myself how I was going to answer the race question. What is Person 1’s race? Mark X one or more boxes. I paused, pen hovering, weighing my options…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,