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Personal essay for commonapp about how I used to be racist


dashkachebu 2 / 4  
Dec 28, 2010   #1
Growing up in a lower middle class Russian Christian Orthodox family, I never met other races, other religions or other cultures. Truthfully, it was almost like I didn't see the rest of the world or its other people. I look back at photographs of myself as a child, and recognize my childhood friends' faces. These faces I see, are all of the same ethnic background, same neighborhood, and very often of the same religion. I look back at my childhood memories and wonder, why did my parents never let me absorb the beautiful other cultures? Why did my parents never let me see the world for what it is? Why was I bound and constricted to people of my kind, and only these people?

I continue to wonder the answers to these questions and never dare confront my father or mother for the answers to these questions; for I am afraid of the answers they will give me. I am afraid my parents will respond with laughter or perhaps even a candid racist comment.

On the first day of high school; I walked between overwhelmingly large columns and entered a majestic enormous door. It was a frightening experience, one like no other. As I strode through my new school, I looked down upon the people of black and Hispanic race. I gathered with other students who were too Russian and we continued to march in our school with our heads held high. I look back to the first couple of months of high school and still cringe and get sick to my stomach. I was outwardly racist. I was blind, It was utterly invisible the type of person I became. After a year of being in one of the most eminently diverse high schools in Brooklyn, New York; I changed. I grew into my own person. I realized that my friends, family, and peers had everything all wrong. This challenging recognition was one that took time, patience and wisdom. I hate to give blame to others for my own past mistakes; therefore I continue to lay a great deal of responsibility on myself. I feel genuine shame for my late discovery.

As I look back at my years in high school, I can't help but give immense appreciation to my school and the people I was once forced to meet and befriend. I also can't honestly admit that the people who agreed with how I once felt ever changed but I know I have. I can never precisely put my finger on what changed my perceptive, but it is apparent that my high school had a lot to do with it.

I'm iffy about how I ended the essay. If you have any suggestions or criticism, please tell me everything. I really want to add about how I've become a hippy and how I always say that "

I'm a lover, not a fighter". But I'm pretty sure there's no way of forming those sentences without them sounding unprofessional.

I will try to answer any of your unanswered threads asap. Thank you so much.

imsooboard 2 / 2  
Dec 28, 2010   #2
These faces I see [no comma needed] are all of the same ethnic background

Why was I bound and constricted [both adj mean the same thing...so just pick one. (constricted sounds better)] to people of my kind, and only these people?

I realized that my friends, family, and peers had everything all wrong. [this sounds a little too cruel.. i would rephrase it]

I hate to give blame to others for my own past mistakes

I would leave all the 'hippy' stuff out. You're right, it does make you sound unprofessional and cliché. The ending seems a little too general and redundant. I would maybe connect it to something in present... just a thought.

good job otherwise tho!
OP dashkachebu 2 / 4  
Dec 28, 2010   #3
Thank you so much!Very helpful

I'm thinking about adding this sentence to the very end

Entering high school was an evident life altering experience I never anticipated.

what do you think?
bbish520 8 / 30  
Dec 28, 2010   #4
Maybe you should mention what made you suddenly realize that you were being a bit racist. What happen that made you change or how you come to the conclusion that you were being racist.
greenlittlebean 2 / 4  
Dec 28, 2010   #5
Its great how you kept it very personal
it will be good to include asians as well
knattagh 3 / 13  
Dec 28, 2010   #6
who were too russian?
I believe it should be, "who were russian too"

my high school had a lot to do with it
...what if you changed the previous sentence to...
my high school played a powerful role in it ("powerful" could definitely be interchanged here with word like crucial, imminent, important )

I think that you can talk about how you became a hippy without sounding unprofessional.
dont say (im a hippy) but think about what it means to be a hippy (or what it means to you) and write about that.
OP dashkachebu 2 / 4  
Dec 28, 2010   #7
it will be good to include asians as well

haha oh man, I was writing it and I almost put asians as a third race, but then I was like waitttt I always loved Asians and have been used to them since Bay Ridge has a large population of Asians. But yeah, I actually think I will add Asian. Thanks btw:)

my high school had a lot to do with it
...what if you changed the previous sentence to...
my high school played a powerful role in it ("powerful" could definitely be interchanged here with word like crucial, imminent, important )

You're right. I agree, that definitely sounds better. Thank you so much.

Also, does anyone feel like it's too short or too long, it's 448 words long.


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