Small Town, Big Feelings.

by katelin on March 5, 2013

Yesterday  I read this story about Oberlin College that shook me. A small college in Ohio, very similar to my alma mater, that had to cancel classes on Monday due to an increase in racial slurs and hate incidents  around the campus along with a vague sighting of a Klan member.

Excuse me? This is 2013 correct?

I mean, this story just angers me and makes me so incredibly sad in the process.

But let’s back up a bit.

My four years of college were some of the BEST times of my life. Yes I may have stood out a bit as a mixed California girl in the middle of Ohio, but it didn’t matter. I made friends of all races. Maybe it’s because I’m mixed that I had white friends, black friends, Indian friends, whatever friends. Maybe being mixed gave me an advantage in making friends but maybe it also gave me blinders.

In my four years I encountered TWO minor events of racial ignorance. Just two. And nothing nearly as bad as what’s been going on at Oberlin.

One incident happened in my Junior year where a black girl basically called me out for not identifying as “African American.” A blip really. I could care less what that girl thought of me and what I thought of myself.

The second incident however, it was a little more tough to handle. I was at a bar with some of my friends Senior year when a girl I did not get along with was there. I don’t even know why we didn’t get along, I think it’s because I was friends with a guy she liked/wanted to hook up with/who knows. But she didn’t like me. The night progressed and she ended up the bathroom at the same time as one of my close friends where she made the comment “Are you friends with that darker girl?”

I don’t even remember what my friend said to her. But she told me what happened and I just shut down. My night was over. That Darker Girl? I’m pretty sure my friends stepped in and set the girl straight and she never actually talked to me again. I, on the other hand, left the bar, went back to my room and cried. I was hurt, offended, upset, all of the above.

Yes, this situation could have been so much worse. Yes, she could have called me a plethora of other words incredibly more hurtful than just Darker. And Yes, I know, this is nothing to hold on to.

But I have.

And for two reasons. One. That night showed me what amazing friends I had. My white, midwestern/east coast friends stood up for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself. Those girls are some of my favorite people and that night was one of those nights I was so grateful for them and always will be. And Two. Because I should have said something that night. I should have told her that I am not just some Darker girl. And that if she had a problem with me it should have been about my attitude, my personality, my whatever but not my race.


And so I’ll tell her now and I’ll tell those kids at Oberlin that have issues or think it’s some joke to dress up as a Klan member and write racial slurs that it’s really not okay. It’s 2013 kids. We have a half black president. We have women running companies. We have an Asian man winning directing awards.We have interracial marriage. Our society is changing, it’s accepting, and you should too.

So just, stop it already. Stop giving Ohio/the Midwest/Small colleges/white kids a bad name. It’s not fair, it’s not right and we’re sick of it.

Spread the LOVE.




happy tuesday!

Posted in Me Things,Sometimes I Get Serious
  • It is 2013. There’s a lot out there far more backwards than I would ever expect. :/ It’s scary business.

  • This post made me teary. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this crap. I’m sorry anyone has to. Discrimination is an ugly, ugly game. I know many racists in my family and it just makes me really sad that these people are so backwards, if I may use Suki’s term. People need to wake up and stop this ugliness.

  • I hadn’t heard about that – but that’s just so crazy to think about. Like you said – are we in 2013??? Well put.

  • B

    It’s sad how everyday I see a headline that makes me think to myself “What year is this?” I’ll add this one onto that sad list.

  • I don’t understand why tolerance (at the very least) is so complicated for people. We are all PEOPLE, humans with feelings, minds, bodies and souls. Color doesn’t matter.

    100% with you on spreading the love.

    thanks for writing this. xo

  • NS

    Thank you for this post. Like you, this type of stuff makes me sick. I don’t understand why anyone would waste their time worrying about the color of someone else’s skin….ridiculously sad. Thanks also for sharing your experiences…

  • I grew up 20 minutes from there and I still can’t believe that kind of behavior is happening. At Oberlin of all places. I used to go to this coffee shop with my mom and grandma as a kid and was in awe that you could dye your hair purple and have facial piercings.

    And in regards to that girl’s comment, I have no comment.

  • It hurts my heart that these things still happen in 2013, but I hope they’re becoming more rare.

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