Hard to Connect

“Sometimes, I don’t feel black enough to hang out with black people.”

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Transcript for Hard to Connect

I’m heavily involved in LIVE, which is Latinos in Valparaiso for Excellence, and I am in involved in VISA, which is the Valparaiso International Student Association, and I know I’m getting, like, involved in BSO which is the Black Student Organization.  I think by being involved, it has helped me to find myself because before I always felt like I had to be in certain things, like I had to probably be with like, I don’t know, black people, but I found out like I don’t have to be just with them, I can be with like, other people and be confident in it, so…

You know, you get to that point where people are like, ‘Ok, so, you don’t want to be black anymore,’ or you get comments like that or, ‘Oh, she’s trying to be Mexican,’ or ‘She’s trying to be this,’ because I’d rather hang with someone else than just hang out with my people.  It’s really hard for, like, other races to connect because I feel like sometimes we feel like we don’t understand each other and we feel like it’s easier to just go to our own than try to even try to understand each other.  And I’ve always been a person that I’ve never felt like I connected with my people, so for me, just hanging out with black people would not have worked.  A lot of times, I feel—I know it’s kind of funny to say, but sometimes I don’t feel black enough to hang out with black people.  I don’t feel like I understand enough.  I feel like sometimes, like, I might be too open, so when they complain or they say things, I don’t see it because I don’t have to deal with what they see.

One of the orgs here, BSO, are currently making a logo and it has something like, about Africa.  I don’t feel totally connected to Africa.  I have no sense of culture for over there, and I can’t connect with Africa.  And a lot times, like, people be like, ‘What do you mean?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t know how to say it.’  And sometimes I feel like they think I’m, like, dissing my African roots, but I’m not.  I just don’t know them.

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt one hundred percent belonging here at Valpo?  I think I’ve felt, maybe sixty?  Sometimes—but there’s always something that happens, something that’s said, something that is shown that can disconnect you so quick.

When I first got here…  People make dumb comments.  I wanted to leave.  Oh my God, I was like, ‘I don’t have to deal with this.  I’m not going to let nobody call me no nigger.  I’m not going to let them, you know, call me no coon, I’m not going to let them call me a slut, no, you know, mammy, I’m not going to let nobody call me this.’  I’ve had people call me such things.  Me and my friends, we used to walk to Target or Dollar General, and I don’t know these people, but they would yell out the car.  I’ve been spit at before since I’ve been here.  Why am I here at Valpo?  Like, I don’t get really along with these people, I really don’t get along here.  I’m ok here, but yet I want to be here, but I can’t.  And I don’t know if I can ever feel one hundred percent, because there’s always that something.