How To Identify With Your People When Your People Won’t Let You

How To Identify With Your People When Your People Won’t Let You

Swirl Nation Blog

Amal Gonzalez

This is very hard for me to write because I don’t know how to begin.

I’ve written about being racially ambiguous. Growing up in a predominantly white environment without real examples of people who are mixed-raced in the media made me “other”, but definitely not white, or at least not 100% white. I’ve written about my parents both being mixed-race, but because of the one-drop-rule, they were black and never were allowed, or even compelled to identify as anything other than black. My dad definitely “looks” like he has African blood flowing through his veins – full lips, coarse, kinky hair, and a slightly broader nose. My mother, on the other hand, has been identified as Latina, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Jewish. She has naturally soft hair, an angular nose, fairer skin, not pale. However, my mother grew up with 6 black sisters in a white rural town in California. Everyone knew her family and she was reminded she was black every day.

So you can only imagine, when it came to raising me and my sisters, we were told about our white relatives. We were told about our family members we will probably never meet because they decided to “pass” during a time when being white was truly a privilege. BUT we never identified with being white or bi-racial. It was always people around me that pointed out my differences, the “other”. It was society that pointed out that I didn’t necessarily fit in one category based on my physical appearance…

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