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Eva, 27, Western Mass

 

Eva Frias, 27, Western Mass 

Tell me about your upbringing...

I'm one of 4 siblings. I grew up with my grandparents, and they played a huge part in raising me, it helped me learn Spanish. We grew up in a 3-decker with my uncle. I realized as a young kid that I was different, I was the darkest. I would get teased and I wish my parents spoke more often about color.

Talk to me about Dominican culture and race...

I think there are definitely comments that are made that point to colorism. I think many Dominicans are confused when it comes to race. I think your race is not determined by a language. Many Dominicans will say that they are Spanish, or Hispanic, but it's rooted in the language, not the color of their skin. Most people think I'm just Black or Indian here in the States. I think its funny when people say, "Oh, I thought you were Black." Because I think to myself, "Well, I am." 

When people ask you what your race is what do you tell them?

I tell them I'm Black.

How do you think growing up in the States has changed about you?

For me, I think I was really confused until about 5-6 years ago. I had never learned what I did about the Transatlantic Slave Trade until I took a course in college. I noticed that I was closer to Black American culture than to Dominican culture though I love both. I didn't even think of it until recently. I didn't really dance to like merengue or listen to bachata growing up, but I'm not really sure why that is, but I like my experience and what I've learned.

 

 

Laura

1. What does humanity mean to you?

Humanity - human beings, collectively; the human race. A diverse group inhabiting the same space, sharing the same resources, and  

 

2. Where do you think we should focus to work past our differences?

I know how I want to answer this question, but am having a hard time putting it into words.

So bear with me while I try - we need to focus on experiences that have thus far been taken for granted, or considered less important.

We need to realize that while some shit happened a while back that we are embarrassed of and would rather not think about or address, it DID happen. And not talking about it or taking responsibility for it doesn’t make it any less a part of our history.  Oh, and also - it’s STILL happening. And not talking about it or taking responsibility for it STILL doesn’t make it any less of our story now, or our future.  Nothing will change if we keep pretending like nothing is fucked up and nothing needs fixing. Nothing will improve between us if those in power continue to work so hard to stay there. 

Those of us that were born into this shit hole of a society have a responsibility to fix what’s broken. It is our legacy, but doesn’t have to be our future.  The problem is, we are too comfortable at the front of the bus, and are too afraid that sitting in the back will make us car sick to give up our seat.

 

3. Your opinion on "color blindness”

I’m assuming by “color blindness” you mean “I don’t see colors, i see people”, etc.  Here are my two cents about that white bullshit  (because obviously a white person came up with that) - Saying “I don’t see color” means “I see no difference between me and people of color”, which is diminutive. It’s belittling and unfair.  It’s whitewashing, if you really think about it. It’s one of the biggest problems with people my age. We are afraid to acknowledge that our people, our grand parents and great grand parents, lived in a world that said that segregation was natural and right, and that anyone who wasn’t white didn’t count.  So, in my humble opinion, “color blindness” is not only destructive, but also horse shit.

Fernando

Fernando Rickart, 33, Boston

Fernando Rickart, 33, Boston

“I define humanity as a collection of people with different backgrounds, beliefs, life experiences, and moral values all trying to share a world.

My upbringing was unconventional, but I come from a caring, loving family that taught me virtues from the beginning. My parents got divorce when I was very young. There was no opportunity for my mother in Dominican Republic. After the divorce she moved to the States in search of a better life. During that time my grandparents took care of me, despite that fact my father was still in the picture. I was reunited with her a few years later, sadly after the passing of my grandfather. The sacrifices my mother had to make to provide a better life for me is something I can’t never repay. It makes me appreciate everything I have accomplished and it humbles me as a person. Now has an adult, husband, and father of two I can only hope I can teach them the same moral values as my upbringing did.

What I want to see from humanity is a cure of cancer. As a father of two boys there is nothing more important to me than there health. I can’t imaging having to go through something like that.”