Many of my friends were Latin American, and brought with them a variety of accents, foods, customs and fashion statements. Then there were the Spaniards, the British, the Irish, the Welsh, the white Americans…. In class we learned mostly British history and geography, but on the playground we picked up so much more: we learned diversity, tolerance and acceptance. Of course this was not without drama. There were quarrels over whose accent represented the correct way to speak English or Spanish. There were outbursts of bigotry in the playground, when some white kids wouldn’t hold hands with a black girl, “in case her color rubs off on us.” There were tears, there was bullying, but…since no group seemed to be the majority, there was mostly the realization that we were all different. And because of that, we all had at least that in common: difference.
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