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Robert Colbourn

My name is Robert Colbourn. I was born in Queens, NY, where I have been raised ever since. I went to Stuyvesant High School before going to Brooklyn's Honors College.
My parents came here from Romania long before I was born, yet they of course attempted to instill their cultural values onto me. Despite that, I never really recognized any culture as my own—no ethnicity, no religion. I wasn’t trying to be rebellious; I just never felt any affinity to Romanians as a people, and I developed my own religious views over the years. So, I thought of myself as belonging to no culture.
Not having a culture of my own, however, has left me open in many different ways. I learn of one distinct set of rituals and customs first hand from my family, but when I enter the world I set them aside and explore new ones. I am friends with Arabs, Chinese, Koreans, Italians, Polish, Hispanics, Africans, Indians and more, and every day I learn a little more about their respective beliefs. The reason why I’m able to be friends with all these different people is simply because I live in New York, where they actually live right next to each other. I’m a New Yorker because I am able to experience all these different cultures—and because of that, I now know that I belong to every culture.