Love outshines racial and ethnic differences

As a child, I didn't notice racial and ethnic differences, dialects, or skin colors. They didn't even enter my mind.

This easygoing approach stayed with me until I met my future husband, Tony. He grew up in Brooklyn. There, your race was everything—your badge of honor. It defined who you were, how you acted, and precisely how you were to perceive others. Jewish, African American, Puerto Rican, Italian, Whatever, were encamped within "territories" of street blocks. You never crossed those borders. You stayed among your own.

This is how Tony lived his life. He knew no other way. And as he and I spent time together, I got a crash course in street smarts. Racial slurs and jokes began to pepper most of my conversations. I willingly learned about the "real world," with its hidden racial agendas, and even felt proud of my new "maturity."

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Waiting for the butterflies
September 22, 2003

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