Black on Campus: Rafael Shaun Rodriguez
Name: Rafael Shaun Rodriguez
Hometown: “From NY (Westchester right outside the city)”
Background: Jamaican and Puerto Rican
Major: Justice and Law and Graphic Design
I’m half Jamaican and half Puerto Rican. I can’t speak Spanish, but I can completely understand it and reply back in English. Being from the Caribbean has always been a part of me. To learn more of, not just my identity and culture, but also to know as many identities and cultures as possible.
I’ve faced struggles with my identity, my sexuality and my nationality. I’m Jamaican and Puerto Rican so I have had trouble fitting into both of those categories. Whether it be not fitting in one at times and fitting in with the other, or not fitting into either. On top of that having to deal with being gay, I didn’t fit in to the regular crew of guys I grew up with. I never had that friend group that everyone associates with.
I struggled with being a minority, with a majority of my classmates being white there weren't many differences in appearance.
As a gay man, I do not always feel accepted by the Black community. That’s kind of hard to say, but that’s the truth. I feel like in every situation you might not fit in, but you kind of just have to not worry about it, and fit in where you can. I think it's discrimination based off of tradition or habit, not off of malicious intent. It’s just the way that some people have grown up and it’s hard to change someone's perspective.
The Black LGBTQA+ community is very inclusive. I feel like we have all had to deal with the same things. And kind of knowing what we had to deal with and us having been through it, it kind of connects us, better than other people. Let's continue to support each other and not bring each other down.