Vanika Spencer was the first African-American that many of her Indonesian community members had ever encountered. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, her skin tone gave her heightened attention; it was brought up in everyday life, while on the bus and when meeting new people for the first time.
But Spencer overcame the obstacles of serving as a minority in Indonesia by challenging herself and her community in conversations about race and the racial hierarchy enforced in society.
“Peace Corps Indonesia taught me how to be more patient when it comes to discussions about race,” Spencer said. “In America, most people know of African-American history and no one really questions who you are and how you got there. But for most people in Indonesia, I was the first African-American (or even dark-skinned person) they had met.” Continue reading “Peace Corps Volunteer educates Indonesia community about race and diversity”