Only Caucasian on the bus. Epiphany

Growing up gay, I always knew what it felt like to be different. But my difference was hidden and I didn’t know what it felt like to visibly stand out. In 1989 I moved from northwest Iowa to the District of Colombia to do an internship for my master’s program. On the way to my first day on the job, I boarded the city bus and immediately realized I was the sole white face in a sea of black faces.  I had never felt so incredibly white in my life.  I experienced a number of reactions including surprise and fear. I didn’t know whether to stare at my shoes or search the crowd for a friendly face. And then…an epiphany: “this is what it feels like.”

– Deb Tiemens, Iowa City, Iowa

<SEE> Deb’s Race Card @ The RACE Card.


Michele Norris is the host of NPR’s All Things Considered and the author of The Grace of Silence.

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