Growing Up Racist in Pennsylvania

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With all the talk about race, politics, and religion in the air I feel like now is the time to write about things in my life I haven't thought about in years.

I was born to a Phillipino mother and a New Yorker father in Philadelphia in 1970 and my family moved out to the suburbs southwest of the city in 1975.

At school and in playgrounds I was subjected to being called a "Chink," a "Gook," and kids were always asking me "What ARE you?" It bummed me out just a little to be "different" than the other white kids but mostly I was able to get past it.

I grew up a Philly sports fan and I had heroes like Dr. J, Harold Carmichael, and Wilbert Montgomery. My family had black friends and acquaintances but every now and then I'd be exposed to some awful jokes that were pretty disparaging and I can't count the number of times I've heard the word "nigger" while growing up.

Bike ride on the "other side of the tracks" where I was chased down by a German Shephard.

Pulling a knife on two older black kids at Media Elementary. Laundromat.

Blackjacked by group of black kids in a car who asked me for directions.

Racist jokes from my dad: "Monbacks, Checksinyets, Hodedos," The N word.

Got along with black kids.

Watermelon Man. Music. Bill Cosby. Eddie Murphy. What's Happenin'. Sanford and Son. Public Enemy. Bad Brains. Boyz in the Hood. Motown. Michael Jordan. Lou Rawls.

Los Angeles. Watts. Rodney King. OJ.


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This page contains a single entry by Nigel published on March 19, 2008 9:30 PM.

Is This For Reals? was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama Is Hapa Like Me is the next entry in this blog.

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