i believe the envirronment in which you grow makes you who you are

fabien - highlands ranch, Colorado
Entered on December 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that the environment in which you grow influence your life. You always see life as you grow up like, you don’t think misery exist unless you are living into it, you don’t know what racism is really like unless you aren’t white because your parents protect you form that.

When I was an exchange student in Vegas I realise all of that. I came in August into a Black host family, I was wondering how that could work because I’m white. But for me the skin colour doesn’t really matter, and I fall in love with this small family of a single mom and a 15 years old boy. They were poor, money was a big issue, usually on the week-end me and my host brother Marcus couldn’t eat. I totally change during those four months, as funny as it sounds I thought I was black. For thanks giving we went to Cleveland into a black ghetto where my host mom was from. I finally understand what racism is. While we were driving through the ghetto, the brother of my host mom told me:” Fabien, please don’t go outside during the time you are here”. I was really surprised and I asked why. He answer me in a really honest voice “because you are white and you will get shot”. I didn’t believe him of course, until we went inside the house I was the first walking into the house my host family was still talking outside. Once I step in, they were 8-12 person in a really small room and they all looked at me as if I was a enemy, I was scared I could tell they didn’t like me. One of them stood up, he was huge, I wanting to run away and luckily my host mom finally came in and told everyone to not worry that I was her exchange student. Suddenly all their faces changed. I realise I wasn’t black as I thought I was during all those 4 months, I’m white no matter how I love them. Even know we had a big culture gap, music is a way to break it. They had an old piano and I started playing, they were singing and during those 5 minutes I felt black again or they were white, I don’t know but it was amazing.

Because of the money problem my host family had I changed host family. I went to a poor family to a rich family. And this is how again the environment in which you grow influences you. When I was talking to my new host brother Kylan, I get in trouble for saying the “F” word every two words, because this is how I my old host family raised me. My new host family was Mormon and I don’t believe in god, so again it influence me and changed me until I get back with my true family 1 year after.

When I get home I was half black, half Mormon, half American. But all of those weren’t how I’m raised in my family, so again I changed my way of living. And after all of that I understood that even if you tried to denied it, the environment in which you grow influence your life and who you are.