13:40 PM

Living both sides of white privilege


Robert De Young, American Family Insurance digital insights and analytics director, reflects on white privilege and why he's taking a stand on racism.

When I was hired four years ago, I remember introducing myself to our executive leadership team at Results Week. I said, “It’s great working for a company that cares about its community as well as its employees.”

I made this statement based on the feedback of the team that hired me. I later grew to appreciate those words, but it wasn't until the last few weeks that I truly understood and embraced them.

Experiencing racism …

My mother had 12 siblings. Her father was born in Mexico City and her mother in Chicago. They strongly wanted their kids to integrate into white America. They only taught them English and quickly Americanized their lives, transforming their names to become English-friendly. My mom’s name is Catalina, but to others, she’s Cathy. 

She passed down to me an implicit shame in my heritage. As a child, I was taught to be careful around Mexicans. One of my early memories was attending my cousin’s funeral in Chicago, where I was told not to look anyone in the eyes. We were there to pay respects and leave.

Moments like this formed inherent biases saying I shouldn’t trust Mexicans, that they were dangerous. This was a reflection of me – that I couldn’t be trusted and that others saw me as dangerous.

Read the rest of Robert's story on the ideas sharing site, Medium.

# # #

About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences.
American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 254 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The GeneralHomesite and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.