Caroline / by Michael Falco

Who is Caroline?

Caroline grew up in Wyoming - the 4th generation of Wyoming/Montana homesteaders on her father's side. Her mother hails from New York with ancestry dating back to the Revolutionary war. She is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and enjoys her work as a science teacher. She is married to a police detective and together they have two children who attend private school. 

Excerpt from interview with Caroline by Whitney Dow, 2018

Caroline: [00:58:45] So, we’re at Universal Studios. I’m there with my two kids and my mom’s sister, my aunt, and my mom’s first cousins, like, my second cousins, I guess. My kids had to go to the bathroom, so I’m taking them to the bathroom. I’m standing in line and this woman, young woman, comes in front of me. We had been in line for, like, ten minutes. Bathroom lines at Universal Studios aren’t short. So, this girl just, I’m walking towards the open stall with my younger daughter, who really needs to use the bathroom. And she goes, “excuse me,” and just pushes her way into the stall. And I was like, “oh no, it ain’t happening today.” Mama Bear just grabbed her, said “no,” and then we went in. I’m like, that lady was crazy.

So, we use the bathroom. And my daughter’s like, “why did she do that? Why?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” So we go out to wash our hands. She’s like, “who do you think you are pushing me out of that stall?” I’m like, “we waited in line. You did not wait in line. She has to use the bathroom.” She’s like, “you’d better never, ever touch me again.” I go, “you’d better get out of my face.” We went back and forth a little bit. Basically, she walked off in a huff. And I walked off like, [Laughs] I don’t know what this is about, but whatever.

So, I go back to my aunt and my cousins. I’m describing, like this crazy lady in line just did this to me. They’re like, “it was a black girl, wasn’t it?” And I was like, no. And they’re like, “it was those Mexican girls. They can get real uppity around here.” And I was like, “no, they weren’t of any color, just like it was a white girl.” And they’re like, “are you sure? Are you sure she was white?” I was like, “yes, I’m really sure.” But what was interesting to me is that their natural, immediate reaction was that she must be a black girl, or she must be a Mexican, because that’s the only way that that would have happened. I was like, no.

And so, when this first happened I called my sister, and I told her about it. And she was like, “oh yes, don’t you remember Grandma?” Because Grandma would come and visit. She’s like, “Grandma would use the N word all the time.” I’m like, “no, I don’t ever remember that. I don’t remember that.” She’s like, “oh yes, Grandma was a racist.” I’m like, “this is so disappointing.” So then I told my mom. I’m like, I know my mom isn’t, my mom just isn’t that kind of person. She’s like, “well, maybe. She’s like “I don’t think they meant it that way. You have to understand my sister grew up in a different, she was a cop in New York City. She had a whole different experience.” And so she tried to excuse her behavior, I think, a little bit. That’s probably the closest my mom and I have ever come to really discussing race, probably


Caroline: [01:21:47] Honestly, and this is me being totally honest, I think being white is really, really boring, culturally. I did the whole genographic project, send in your DNA, find out where you’re from. I desperately wanted to be Native American, like desperately. I was so mad. Came back, not Native American, not black, not Hispanic. I came back two percent Polynesian, which I was the most excited about. It’s like, some part of me is not white. I want some part of me not to be white because I feel like being white is really, really culturally boring. Other than being Irish, what do we really have to say for ourselves? [Laughs] I really just feel like there’s really just nothing that’s super-exciting about being a white person, whereas, like, all these other ethnicities have just so much culture and vibrancy and music.

Interview Transcript