It ‘s good to experience being in the minority sometimes, if you are usually of the majority.

My childhood experience was as majority as you can get–a WASP in Minnesota in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Now Minnesota is much more diverse, of course. But in my elementary and junior high school years in a small town on Lake Minnetonka, about 10 miles west of Minneapolis, everyone was like me. So I didn’t even think about it. I just took that way of living and experiencing the world for granted.

Even now, although I live in a more diverse neighborhood, I still usually experience life through the lens of being “the norm”. So, it was an interesting experience a few years ago when I was at a meeting of our neighborhood steering committee with 7 other women. It was right before Christmas. Our host put out snacks, including large pretzel sticks dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with dark chocolate lines to resemble birch trees. I thought they looked lovely. I was about to comment that they would be fun to make for Christmas gifts, when it occurred to me that I was the only non-Jewish person in the group, and so that remark would be irrelevant to everyone else. I kept it to myself.

But I was taken aback by that experience. I wondered, what must it be like to be a minority person (whether of religion, culture, race, sexual orientation or whatever) living in a majority unlike yourself. Do you keep your thoughts and experiences to yourself when they are not shared by the people you’re with?

It was an interesting and valuable experience, and I hope I hold onto it.

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