Multicultural Freshman Struggles With Mixed New Jersey/Pennsylvania Heritage


CARMAN HALL – When Max Greenblatt CC ‘21 first arrived at Columbia this Fall, he was thrilled to be entering  into a challenging, rewarding, and diverse new chapter of his life.

But even in a city as forward thinking as New York, Greenblatt often felt like an outsider.

“When our orientation leader asked my group, ‘Where are you from?’ I just froze up.” Greenblatt is among the thousands of Columbia students who cannot pin down their heritage to just one place. “My dad is from Pennsylvania, a real Scranton-ite,” said Greenblatt. “But Mom’s from Jersey City, born and bred.”

“What the hell am I supposed to tell people…‘the Northeast’?  Like I’m just gonna lump Rhode Island in there too? Jesus Christ.”

Greenblatt, like many other multicultural students, says he could feel the tensions of his pluralistic background even before college. When signing up for the SAT, Greenblatt was shocked to find the only box applicable to him was ‘White.’ “I just can’t believe how vague that is,” said Greenblatt. “Where’s the box for Dutch-German-Norweigan-French?”

“Not to mention my fake ID says I’m from Connecticut,” added Greenblatt. “The life of a cultural nomad, I guess.”

At press time, Greenblatt was torn between Absolute Bagel and Nussbaum & Wu for breakfast.