Mandi, a white female, grew up in a lower SES environment and realized she experienced privilege based on her skin color. Being married to a Puerto Rican male, she describes some of her first hurtful personal experiences of oppression occurring around society’s reactions to her being in an interracial relationship and having multi-ethnic children. “It’s much easier to accept oppression when you think the only people being affected by it are adults, because we have this impression of adults as being responsible for themselves. So if my husband faces oppression, I know that it’s a 35-year-old man who, in theory at least, can combat that on his own. But becoming a parent really changed all of that, because now the recipients of, and the enactors of oppression, are kids. And they’re vulnerable.”
Mandi’s reflections and what she’s up to now:
“I am incredibly proud to have been in this film. When I was first invited to interview – and indeed, throughout the interviews! – I didn’t fully understand what the film was about. I was only told that I should share my story, which felt about the same as someone instructing me just to hang out while they recorded it. No script, no expectations. I was confused, I wanted directions, I wanted to be told what to do and I wanted to do it right. But since there was not a ‘right’ answer, I was forced to answer honestly and sometimes painfully, directly from the heart. After those interviews, I was bone-tired. Exhausted. And when the film was completed, I finally understood what it was all about. My story is both the same and different from everyone else’s story. I had to go through the confusion and the anxiety and the exhaustion before I could clearly see. And that is precisely what standing up against oppression feels like for me – confusing, awkward, anxiety inducing, and ultimately full of connection and clarity.
Since the film, I have opened a private therapy practice working exclusively with children and adolescents. I love working with this age group, because there is so much desire to grow and become, and so much energy to do so. I have developed something of a specialty working with gender non-conforming children, and speak on the subject with professional and parent groups. My family is thriving. My daughters are in fully bilingual Spanish-English classrooms at their school, and are embracing their heritage. My husband and I will celebrate 15 years together this summer , and he continues to be my greatest love and support. Being a part of this project feels like the creation of an important piece of the legacy I hope to leave for my beautiful family and for our community.”