CULTURAL AWARENESS

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“With a name like mine, phonetically on paper, it doesn't really make sense to a lot of Americans because it's a French name. It's "so-lay" like Cirque du Soleil!
Even when I talk, people think I talk white. I'm just like, well I grew up in SD... I speak English. That’s the only language I know. People see my name & automatically assume I can't speak English or I'll have a really thick accent. Some of my [high school] classmates would see my last name & make jokes like you're an Unga Bunga African. I'm like "No, I was born here. That's kind of messed up". But even black people say "Oh, I thought you were just regular black!" No, no, no! I'm half African - my grandfather is a black American, & on my mom's side, grandma’s white, grandpa’s black. Everyone is Congolese on my dads side.

I once met this white guy who had dreadlocks. They have an appreciation for Rastafarianism & dreads is a very serious relationship. So you’ve got white people that want that because they want to learn the culture, but people will see them & instantly think "well he's trying to do blah blah blah" but really, it's not like that. Some people can know more about your culture than you. My friend Adam knows so much about African culture. He's been to Africa 3 times last year. I’ve never been! He knows the South Sudanese language, the different tribes, & he's a tall white dude! I have a lot to learn, & he’s like "I will take you to Africa". My dad gives me these books, & he'll say things in Swahili but I don't really understand. His family is from a French speaking colony called Kahsi.

On every side of race, there are people that just aren’t educated & they protect their own interest. Really, I think true diversity is within thought. If you can't expand your mind enough to be like "those clothes are cool, but I don’t think it's something I should wear" or "I don’t think I should talk like this just around these types of people to fit in", then may you should read a book or something."