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Ethnic Ambassador This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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Every day I wake up wishing I were more ethnic. I'm a white girl from South Orange County, California – why couldn't I have been born Samoan? Or Filipino? They have wonderful food. My dad's idea of an ethnic meal is steak and potatoes. Thanks, Dad, way to contribute to our family's overflowing cultural melting pot.

The dilemma I face is proving to the rest of the world that I have just as much to offer in terms of diversity as those with more colorful backgrounds than I. This is a daunting task for someone like me, someone who sighs in frustration whenever clicking the “Caucasian/White” bubble on any standardized test or formal document. I strive to find a way to contribute despite my genetics, keeping the multicultural flavor I long to taste alive however I can. I suppose this is why I was so excited to claim the title of Multicultural Commissioner for my student government.

Of the dozens of applicants from the thousands of students at my high school, the Student Executive Board, which included Hispanic, Japanese, French, and Chinese teens, chose the pasty white girl to represent the myriad ethnic groups on campus. As such, I'm responsible for organizing all student-run associations, every ethnic and heritage-related event, and perhaps most daunting of all, the annual Multicultural Week. Days of cultural celebrating conclude with an enormous food fair where every club on campus represents a country and provides corresponding delicacies for all to enjoy. Every country from Argentina to Zimbabwe takes part, and I'm the one-woman United Nations in charge of making sure they all get along.

I take immense pride in my position as Multicultural Commissioner and the irony that goes along with it. I wasn't appointed because of personal experience, but because of my passion for diversity as a change agent. It took me, a third-party observer of sorts, to recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy mix-and-match environment and creating the programs that keep it alive.

Everything I've learned as Multicultural Commissioner has prepared me for a full-fledged Boston University experience. Knowing full well that BU prides itself on its multiculturalism, I plan on stepping up my game as part of the student body to bring my enthusiasm for diversity to every facet of my undergraduate career.

There's something wonderful in knowing that I could walk around my former hometown of Boston and feel like part of a community, one where I'm not seen as just another white girl, but as an old friend returning home to help make it a better place. And who knows? Maybe upon returning to the city I still adoringly call home, I'll trace my family lineage and discover that somewhere in my blood there's a small streak of Native American or Pacific Islander. Something in my splotchy freckles and obnoxiously white skin tells me otherwise, but a girl can dream, right?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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jsjohn said...
Apr. 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm:
So what is wrong with being white? You are just as much a part of cultrural diversity. Society has given you a bad impression and filled you with white guilt. All atrocities the "white man" has committed against other cultures has also been committed by those same cultures against others throughout history. We learned form past mistakes and made amends. So why must white people be the ones who take the burden of racial and cultural injustice? Be proud of who you are, your hertiage has contribute... (more »)
 
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