Barefooted Bliss

Open ended personal statement.


At Brown, the Carrie Tower chimes, class beckons, and I walk in barefoot.

Barefoot like my abuela, who at the age of seventeen chased down the thief who snatched her purse. Armed with only indignation and pride, her feet pounded the soft earth of Mexico City as she thundered down the grassy calzada in murderous pursuit. She caught the thief, punished him, and recovered her purse.

¡CuÃdate! Mexico City is a dangerous place, especially for a woman and her purse. Don't wear it too proudly, people tell me all the time. I listen. Don't let them know what you're worth. I obey. Through time and space, over the border and across generations, I weave through the spill of faces at Santa Monica High School and I take heed of the warnings. I remember my abuela and I leave my purse at home. At school I forfeit my identity.

Samohi is home to statistical diversity: 42% Hispanic, 26% African-American, 20% White. It is also home to race riots. Our campus is racially segregated - at lunch the White kids, the Hispanics, the African Americans all keep to themselves. At my school, diversity is only a façade - pseudo-diversity - merely numbers on paper. Here, the dress code is enforced and I must wear shoes.

I belong to two worlds - the...

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