Viewpoint #4

This piece was written by an anonymous William Smith junior who is heavily involved on campus.

My experience as a POC on campus has been that I am not a POC on campus. Even though I am half Puerto Rican, I do not fit in with cultural clubs at HWS. I know that I have a very white lived experience I do not speak Spanish, I don’t know all of the slang, and especially in Geneva winters, I am pretty pale. With all of this in mind, I cannot deny the Spanishness within my last name. I can’t deny that my father is Puerto Rican. I can’t deny that I have had experiences that are unique to me because I am Puerto Rican. And yet, no one here seems to care, and often deny me of my own experiences. In the classroom, many of my classmates have said that I don’t count as a POC and that the class is all white, despite my Latinx last name.

I know I am not alone in being biracial and not knowing what this means for me socially, but it always feels as though those people still find their place while keeping their non-white identity intact. With this said, I hope that others do not feel alone with their identity as I often do. When the comedian Ernie G came to Geneva, I finally felt like I was entitled to my identity. I do not speak Spanish, but I do know what it’s like for my grandma to hit me with her chankla, or the smell of her plantains filling the kitchen. At HWS, I know that the doors to LAO, the IC, or CSA are open to me, but I also know that I will not be enough for them, and unfortunately, I have had to become okay with that.

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