My dad is a African American male with brown Asian eyes, along with super curly, nappy hair usually shaved down to his scalp. My mom is a German female with pale skin and big brown eyes. Her hair is curly, she is partially black despite what people may say about her skin color. I am mixed, what my parents refer to as, a melting pot. I was raised in a house with my mother, my grandparents, and my two uncles. They are in fact my blood family, even though I am a little bit darker. So no, I am not adopted. Everyone in the neighborhood knew us, they were friendly and never saw me as anything more but a new edition to the family. As I child, I never noticed that I was a little different compared to my relatives. We were all alike in so many ways, I don’t recall having any doubt in my mind that my family wasn’t my “real” family. Until, my mom decided it was time to move. I went to a new school where nobody knew me. It was just me and my mom. On my first day of fourth grade, I kissed my mom goodbye, and headed in line with the rest of the children. It was a fresh, welcoming atmosphere but I noticed a confused look on the students faces. They looked at my mom, they looked at me. They looked again, and again. Finally, one of the girls in the group asked a question that had changed my perspective on everything, “Is that your real mom?” I wasn’t offended, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t sad, I was confused. Of course that’s my real mom, what kind of question is that? Did you not just see me give her a hug goodbye just like all the other kids and their mommies, I thought to myself. With all the possible responses running through my mind, I replied with, “Yes.” From then on out, my life does not go on without someone questioning my race.
As I approached middle school, I guess people thought since my dad wasn’t around in the beginning stages of my life, I was considered less black. I “talk white” so therefore I am nothing more than an ashamed black girl, who tries to act white. As I got older, I began to learn more about myself. Reality kicked it, and my father was now in my life and was teaching me about a whole other side of my family. I met my black grandma, aunts, uncles, a whole family that I never knew about. The food was different, the way they spoke, all things I wasn’t used to. This wasn’t me being “racist” it was just a new environment, I was adapting to. I remember times where I’ve turned down food options and slick comments were made about how I only like my food bland. I didn’t know all the words to an old rap song and supposedly that made me less black. I had what my friends and family called “white people hair” so that also made me less black. I was going through an identity crisis. Middle school was the years that I decided I needed to be who people saw me as, which was black. I began learning the slang, and becoming someone I wasn’t. I even taught myself how to properly eat a chicken wing specific to my family’s standards. Quite funny actually. But hey, according to what my black family and friends were telling me, if I didn’t like wings, I was less black. Throughout all of this it wasn’t that I was unhappy, I would just always feel out of place. When we had family gatherings on my german side, I started becoming uncomfortable. What really bothered me throughout all of this was not what people said to me, but rather what I said to myself. I read a quote once that said, “If you had a friend that spoke to you the way that you spoke to yourself, how long would you let that person be your friend?” I had been putting myself down for being too white or not enough black. Soon enough, I realized, I have to simply stop caring about what others think of me. I am mixed. I do not “talk white” I speak proper English. I love all music. I embrace every single part of each of my races compiled into me. So before you try and change yourself just remember, people will always have something to say.