Sept. 11, 2001, was the first time I’d seen color used so evidently as a means to generalize and divide. I was only 14 years old, entering my first week of high school in the suburbs of Long Island, less than an hour outside of New York City, on the day my worldview changed.

The majority of my classmates were mostly white and I’d always stuck out like a sore thumb as a multiracial American – born to a Puerto Rican and Italian-American mother and an Indian immigrant father in 1987. My olive skin tone, bushy eyebrows, dark brown curly hair, and funny-sounding name made me an easy target for kids already searching for any physical differences to pick on. Even the few pockets of various Asian and Hispanic American students tended to stick closely with one another, socializing only with their own kind, minus a few misfits with whom I became close.

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