My social justice activism journey didn’t start until I was a first year student at the University of Minnesota. Before then, I knew how I felt about racism, social injustice, and privilege, but I didn’t have terminology or education to back up my feelings and I didn’t really have the words to make complete thoughts about how I felt.
My family is socially conservative and usually votes Republican; I labeled myself as a moderate during high school and my first year in college because for those years I wanted to act and pass as white as I could. My goal was to fit in and to try and be seen by my peers to be just like them, all the while knowing that it was impossible because I was so dark and would never be able to pass.
I didn’t identify with Democratic candidates because I didn’t fully understand where they were coming from and I didn’t want to be lumped in with what my friend Andrew told me in our AP Psychology class, “Bethany, all minorities vote for Democrats.” Back then I’d rather vote Republican and (hopefully) be seen as a part of the majority and as elitist, rather than vote for a Democrat and be a minority.