I am a black female. With that being said, I feel as though it is too often that I am the "only" in the room. Whether I'm the only female, the only black person, or the only black female, it definitely feels as though it can be an overall negative experience. But the main problem with this is that those of the majority don't always realize how being the "only" can affect minorities.
There have been lots of times when I would be the only black person in a classroom or at a certain event. Most of the time, depending on the setting, this isn't even a big deal. Other times, however, it can be very uncomfortable. Questionable attention is automatically drawn to you and sometimes cultural questions are directed at you. Overall, it can be a negative experience when we can't relate to others that don't look like us.
On the other hand, being the only minority in the room can be a good thing. Usually, in a positive aspect, it means you're paving a way for other minorities. It's always a celebratory cause when we hear "the first black ____" because it gives hope to those that may want to follow in their footsteps. When I was young, my mind was set on the fact that if there wasn't another black person doing it then it probably wasn't for me. However, when I see other black women doing something that I aspire to do and succeeding at it, it's very encouraging and makes me that much more determined to succeed at it too.
Being an "only" can also come right from the home. I feel as though it's common in this generation to be the only family member thus far to attend college and graduate. In the black community in particular, there's also a lot of people that go against certain stigmas in the black community. For example, being the only vegan, or the only one to go to a therapist. It's certain generational stigmas like these that need to be eradicated in order for today's black community, young and old, to thrive.
In conclusion, being the only minority in any situation can be a bad thing, but I'm even learning myself that it can be a great thing.