I Am Gregory Dukes, And I

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I am Gregory Dukes, and I am a 27 year old African American male; who lives near Florence, South Carolina. I was born in Laurel, Mississippi; however, I grew up New Jersey, and attended elementary, middle, and high school in Sayreville, NJ. Sayreville has been described as the most typical middle class community in the country. My childhood town features an array of different races, religions, and socioeconomic classes; and helped to shape my own identity within the larger community. This identity is one that has experienced both openness and acceptance; but also suffered racism and bigotry. Ultimately, I am a believer in the pluralism that has made this country great, and has helped to shape my own passion for educating the future of our great country. Race “You’re a Nigger,” screamed the little boy. This was the first time that I realized that there was a difference between me and other children in my school. I grew up in a town that was overall diverse; however in my neighborhood there were only children that looked like me. I knew when I went to school, that there were children that did not look like me; they had blond hair, red hair, and paler skin then mine. However, I had never realized that there was a true difference between us other than our appearance; but at five-years old I just had the realization that I was black, and a minority in my community. When I got home from school that day, I asked my mother, “What’s a Nigger?” She was astonished by the question, and went on to explain to me that just because I was a minority did not mean I was any less smart or capable then the other students. It meant that I had to work harder, and I had to strive further because there was a lot of hate and discrimination for an Af... ... middle of paper ... ...cognition that I was gay; I begun to realize that my personal life was private, and I do not have to share it with anyone other than my significant other. Furthermore, I understand that homosexuality does not define my life, and that what happens in my bedroom is no one business but mine. Living life as a gay man is a struggle; because it is something that I want to keep private, and not share with a lot of people. I do not want to be judged; and I fear that people will judge my lifestyle as something immoral. Moreover, I work in a highly conservative and traditional community, and I do not want that to be something that hinders my ability to connect with students, parent, or the larger community. I am proud of who I am, and I believe that I articulate who I am on a daily basis; however I do not believe that it is anyone’s business what occurs in my private life.

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