Jacob Purrington / by Michael Falco

Who is Jacob Purrington?

Jacob Purrington was born August 18, 1999 in New Hampshire, and moved 3 times until he moved to Wyoming in October of 2012. He was homeschooled until enrollment at Laramie County Community College (LCCC). He was not completely aware of the subject of the project until his interview. He identifies as Caucasian and practices Christianity. Politically, he is right of center and although he was not of age in the 2016 election, he favored Bernie Sanders. He participated in the “Facing Whiteness” project because it was a “interesting offer that I couldn’t refuse.”

Excerpt from interview with Jacob Purrington by Whitney Dow, 2018

Q: Now, when you were growing up, was race something that was discussed in your family much? Was it an issue or how was it talked about?

Jacob: [01:04:40] It wasn’t a very big issue for me. My grandmother is Cuban so I was always aware of it but I was never really aware of the stigmas that came along with other races really. Yeah. And, I mean, we talked about it but not in any existential way.

Q: And how do you identify racially?

Jacob: [01:05:11] I identify as Caucasian but I do like to tell the stories of my grandma and mother. My grandma is Cuban but my dad was adopted. My mother was born in Africa to American parents. So I got all that history on a technicality really.

Q: And when you say you’re Caucasian, you say you’re white, what does it mean? What makes you white?

Jacob: [01:05:35] I really think of it more as the race. What I was really born as. Basically what history, my family has. Because I actually don’t know on my dad’s side. I could be half Native American for all I know. But my mom’s side is primarily European so that’s kind of what I think of it as.


Q: Are you happy that you’re white?

Jacob: [01:06:20] I don’t really think it affects my mood. I don’t often think about it, being white.

Q: Why don’t you think you think about being white?

Jacob: [01:06:30] I think because nobody forces me to think about being white.

Q: Can you talk a little about that?

Jacob: [01:06:34] I think in a lot of places in this country and I’m sure other countries, there is a racial stigma that doesn’t seem justified in any way. Not exactly sure why. Not sure why I got off easier.

Interview Transcript