Black History Month: students reflect on diversity

susanapettis and briannawessling 

Jess Hudson ’17

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Photo courtesy of Jess Hudson.

“Being a Marian girl is different in my community because I’m viewed as selling out. It’s hard to fit into each different demo-graphic, so at Marian, I will never fully assimilate to white culture and in my community, I won’t be black “enough” because of how I talk and my taste in music. I think that it’s important to be opened-minded to other cultures besides your own, and there is more to us than what you see in mainstream culture. There are a lot of negative stereotypes surrounding black people. Be sensitive towards other people’s cultures. I just want to say that it’s a fun time being African-American. I love my culture.”

 


Vicky Bongomin ’18

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Photo courtesy of Vicky Bongomin.

“There are difficulties that come with celebrating diversity, especially at a primarily white school like Marian. In some of my classes, I am the only black person there, and some I have one or two other black sisters. But I knew what I was getting myself into freshman year. At the end of the day, Marian has one of the best education systems in the metro and that is what I love. At Marian, I wish we could celebrate other cultures as much as we celebrate American culture. What I love the most about my ethnicity is how inclusive, strong, creative and determined we are. We are understanding and welcoming of every ethnicity, especially minorities. There are definitely hardships of being a black woman/person in society, but like I said, we are strong and creative and do well in making our own paths to success.”

 


Noel Olson ’19

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Photo courtesy of Noel Olson.

“[When I was younger] It never crossed my mind as to why my mom and my brother had darker skin than me. The older I got, the more I realized how segregation was still implanted in today’s society. I know I’m privileged just because my skin is white, and with that came a sense of reality. People would be openly racist to me without knowing I was mixed. I had a friend who would typically talk about people of color in a derogatory way in front of me, like many who were born in a predominantly white community would. With my skin being white, and only truly experiencing racism second hand, I have never felt fully accepted by the black community. Likewise, I hadn’t felt fully accepted by the white community either. In the end, I know that culturally I have both, and I can benefit from it. My mom, brother and sister stand beside me in the awkward mix of black and white that has been, and always will be, a part of my life. In the end, I want to use my privilege so that I, like all others who are mixed, can live life in the racial bliss that we did in our childhood.”

 


Geonasha Agbelety ’20

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Photo courtesy of Geonasha Agbelety.

“Black History month is really important to me because it’s a whole period of time to celebrate black people in this country and black culture. I don’t think it’s hard to celebrate diversity [at Marian] because of IDEAS club and because a lot of the girls are open-minded and want to learn about other ethnicities. Most of the girls have black friends, Indian friends, Hispanic friends or Asian friends. What I love most about my ethnicity is that I can be who I am and be unique. Generally, my parents have told me that you have to work harder than most people because you’re black or you have to work twice as hard because you’re African. You have to work harder to get to a high place in life. My family celebrates our diversity a lot. My family is from Ghana, and we make a lot of African food and clothes. Every March we celebrate Ghana independence day and all the Ghanaians from Omaha and Lincoln come together to celebrate our culture. It’s important to be proud of your ethnicity because it makes you who you are. Don’t be ashamed or hide who you are. Be proud of who you are.”

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