Reflections on Race: 'I want people to understand that we're human'
Adonis Hutchings is a property inspector from Southampton. He is also a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Hutchings describes Southampton as a cool, small, close and sheltered community. But he still experienced racism.
"I did deal with racism, I did, but it wasn't like firsthand racism, like calling me straight up names and like hardcore racism," says Hutchings. "Like when I left Southampton, I went upstate to college, like on the side of the road, like they called us the N-word, like straight up, like driving by in a car and I was like, what? That really happens? And walking into stores, people really do follow you and all these things and I was like, what? Like are you serious? And then I did come back to Southampton and I did realize like wow, some of these things I was experiencing was actually racism and I just never really…I guess I didn't want to believe it. You know, I didn't really want to think about it."
Hutchings says he was called names growing up because he's Black. He wanted to rip his skin off. Hutchings says it's heartbreaking that his 4-year-old brother feels similarly.
"As a kid, people would tell me I'm too dark or I'm just, they would literally call me like burned and all these horrible names, you now, even from my peers, my 'friends, friends,' you know, even people of color, people would just tell me I'm too dark. 'Why are you that dark?' Why, you know like and I hated it. I really wanted to like literally rip off my skin, you know, I was like, this is insane, why did God give me such horrible features about myself? Why am I so dark? Why can't I get lighter? Like I would really look up, how to get lighter, all these ridiculous things, until I really start to learn to love my dark skin, to love my melanin, you know, and it wasn't until I got older, but like dealing with things like that as a kid is unexplainable and nobody should have to go through that. And my little brother - he's 4, and it really breaks my heart, because the fact that he came home and said like, he wanted to be white, you know that he didn't like his brown skin, like why are we brown? It really broke my heart, because nobody should have to deal with that."
Hutchings says he was not a person who spoke up about things, but he went to the protests.
"I want people to understand that we're human, you now that we're just human, just the same as you. You have lighter skin, I understand, but we're human and we hurt just like you and we bleed just like you do and by going to those protests and people hearing our voice, maybe they will try to understand. You know, I don't think people really took the time out of their day to try to understand."