I decided to join the Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge for 2019. Being aware and involved in the local food system for a few years and seeing positive reviews from people I respect about past challenges, led me to tackle the challenge this year. The challenge lasts three weeks, and each week has a theme. I have decided to use words in this blog for the challenge. You can learn more here: https://fsneequitychallenge.org/
Week 1 has a theme of “Identities and the Stories that Need to Be Told.” Day 1 has a theme: Locating Ourselves and Racial Identity Formation: What does it mean to understand ourselves in stages of racial identity development?
How do you think about your own racial identity and its relevance to your life, work, studies and/or volunteerism in the food system (or as an eater)?
Great question! I am Asian. I was adopted at the age of 3 weeks into a white family. I grew up in an unincorporated area with German food traditions in a small, urban parochial school (my 8th grade class had 16 students). I have always known that I was adopted. I really didn’t think about my own racial identity until I got to college – a large university, surrounded by many students – a mix of international and domestic students.
That situation is still fairly typical now that I’m out of college, too. Unless we had met before college, you might look at me and have no idea if I know English.
My race’s relevance comes to and goes from the forefront of my life, work, and volunteerism in the food system as needed. I am more than willing to work with my race for a good cause when someone needs a non-white liaison with a potentially hostile or unreceptive audience. If my Asian-ness opens the bridgeway between groups, I’m OK with that. If it detracts from the greater good, I can stay and cause some discomfort as a way to get to a comfortable place, or I can leave. The best is when there is no issue.