Becoming One With My Two Races | Teen Ink

Becoming One With My Two Races

January 14, 2019
By anonymousmorgan BRONZE, Bronx, New York
anonymousmorgan BRONZE, Bronx, New York
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only time I set the bar low is for limbo."

I was raised by my Scottish-German-American single mother, so identifying myself as “white” was almost done for me whenever we were seen together. I noticed, however, from a very young age, that my curly black hair and tan skin did not appear like my mother’s or anyone from that side of the family. Being biracial, questions regarding race sprang up from an early age that my Caucasian mother could not answer for me. She had never grown up wondering about what to do when being racially profiled, how to react if the police stopped and frisked her, and even what specific oils and products were right for my kinky hair. There were questions my Jamaican-immigrant father couldn’t even answer for me, even when he was around, which was only a handful of times in my life. Some questions included why was it that people assumed I was adopted when I was seen with my mother like it wasn’t possible to have a biracial child come out so much darker than their mother? Why was I so often deemed white or black, and was never referred to as “biracial”? Why was I deemed “exotic” as if I were a rare animal species?    

Looking out into the world I felt far from secure or close to answering these questions. Reading that unarmed black people are five times more likely to be shot and killed by a cop, yet seeing our first biracial President reigning during this time felt jarring and conflicting to me. Hearing that black women have been considered for centuries “hyper-sexual” but then also being appropriated for their features made no sense to me, either. I felt that by being mixed I was never viewed as both races, only ever one or the other. The world told me to love myself and all my features, yet I felt forced to choose a race within myself.

I have learned that in order to get some answers, there is nothing wrong with asking a question. In high school, I was exposed to more races and cultures than ever before. I surrounded myself with girls just as curious as I was and was not afraid to inquire about their experiences regarding race. I felt insightful as well when answering their questions, and they made me realize that I knew a lot more about my race experience than I thought I did. However, none of these conversations and answers would have been achieved if it were not for understanding, compassion, and the courage to be curious. I’ve been faced with many racial questions in my life; concerning how It feels to be mixed, the climate nowadays and especially my political views. I don’t mind these questions, as long as I know they come from a place of authenticity. I’ve been in the same questioning spot as them, especially with my mother. Were you ever concerned about raising a brown girl in a world where more than 20% of black women are raped in their lifetime? Did you face any discrimination from your own family members? I am blessed to have a mother that was open to answering my questions because she understood that I sincerely wanted to know about her racial experience. However, I have had many encounters when the questions were not fueled by ignorance, but by hate. There have even been encounters witnessing one race completely unwilling to hear, let alone consider the other’s race experience. I see that all we want is to be heard fully and sincerely, as well as to promote love and compassion for others. This cannot happen if we are not willing to look at our faults and own them; if we do not ask questions out of love and compassion. 

I believe that there needs to be more openness when racial discussions appear, especially when the people present are of different races. There needs to be more awareness in how we speak to and about others, and additionally, more understanding and compassion towards the insightful party. We must understand and also relate to their questions, as there have been times when we ourselves have been as intrigued and just wanting to steer away from being deemed ignorant. There is room for improvement all over the world regarding race relations. Understanding and compassion are merely words but have a huge impact when put into effect. I believe more compassion and curiosity in the world will enlighten us and lift the veil of ignorance which hangs over much of mankind. 

I feel, looking back now, grateful to have never had anyone figure it out for me, despite being more than confused at times about who to be. Nobody can answer questions about my race experience for me. Otherwise, I would never learn the basics of who I am if I’m told who I am supposed to be. I am me, and although I may fit into categories about race, color, gender, and sexuality, nobody can keep me within those categories. I am me. 

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