Growing Up as a Minority

I grew up in Livingston, New Jersey, a community populated by a majority of people of the Jewish faith. Being a Gentile obviously made me a minority in that community.

  • The food I ate was often different than that of my friends.
  • My traditions were different. I didn’t celebrate the Jewish holidays such as Passover and Chanukah, but celebrated Christmas and Easter.
  • My lifestyle was different. My family was of modest means rather than of a wealthy lifestyle.
  • My experiences were different. I didn’t go through a bar mitzvah ceremony, nor did I attend religious services on Friday evenings or Saturday.

Being a minority in this culture sometimes resulted in feelings of:

  • Loneliness, not experiencing the same things they were experiencing or being involved in their religion. Conversations often revolved around Jewish traditions and events, things I wasn’t part of.
  • I often felt like a second-class citizen because I was not from a wealthy home like they were, nor did my father have a prestigious job like many of their parents.
  • Because many of my friends were not Christian, my faith and my Gentile culture were not reinforced.

I imagine that some Huntington University students who are from a racial, ethnic, or cultural background different from the majority white student population experience some of the same things. They may sense that they are viewed differently, treated differently, that their cultural background and traditions aren’t understood by other students.

We want to do better, and to understand better. That’s why we are spending this entire school year exploring the subject of racial and ethnic reconciliation.

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