What is your race? (Check one)

I was in seventh grade when the issue of race was first brought to my attention. On the first day junior high school in my homeroom class, we were given forms that asked us to identify ourselves as white, black, Hispanic, or Asian. The question made me stop and think. My mother was Mexican-American, my father, Norwegian-American, which made me—what?

I explained my predicament to the homeroom teacher. She told me to select the group with which I mostly closely identified myself. I found the choice difficult to make for two reasons: (1) I had honestly never thought of myself in such terms before; and (2) I found the choices to be very limiting, as I was being asked to identify myself with certain physical characteristics. I looked around the classroom and had to admit that I wasn't really "white" compared to other students. On the other hand, I wasn't purely Hispanic either. I was just me, the child of God—an identification I had learned in Sunday School.

Identity and race—a spiritual journey
February 10, 1997

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