Society has a way of sculpting ones way of thinking and even ones way of life. Growing up biracial has a way of making you understand the importance of self-love and self-acceptance at an early age. Here’s what I mean by that…
I recall growing up getting ready to take a big test or signing up for certain events and only being able to choose one box for race… I contemplated to myself, how can I choose one without the other? I can remember asking my teacher which box to check and her responding with something along the lines of, “your Dad is black so that’s what you are.” Talk about a slap in my Mom’s face..How could I throw away one side of me for society’s way of viewing me?
Even certain family members had side remarks on my race on both sides. Kids at school didn’t make it any better. I was, “too white for the black kids and too black for the white kids.” Talk about confusing! I would always ask myself, “Well what am I?” As if I was some experiment. I struggled with self-identity for a while because I wanted to find “my place” in society. Imagine thinking and experiencing this at the tender age of 5+ all because of a box.
I cared so much to fit in …. I ended up straightening/perming my hair; all while damaging the beautifully coiled curls I was given because “peers” didn’t like it curly. I spent extra hours in the sun getting a tan as a result of my skin not being “dark” enough. I was told things like, “the only reason I was pretty was because I was mixed.” (I hate that term by the way!)
It wasn’t until I was given the opportunity to choose one or more races, that I realized I could be considered both black and white simultaneously; I’d been doing it all along I just didn’t realize it. It was like a light bulb went off. All this time I was under the impression I had to pick and choose a side all because of “a box.”
At that point, I allowed myself to come to terms of being unapologetically me. I gave my curls the chance to flourish while accepting everything that came with being biracial. I stopped tanning as much because having a fair skin-tone is okay too! Being biracial doesn’t automatically mean you have to be tan! When you understand who you are, you accept who you are. I have the opportunity to experience two cultures (best of both worlds as others would say!)
All in all, I use to dread when people questioned my race, due to the fact I “picked a side”. Now I answer, ” I’m biracial: black and white.” I came to the realization that no matter how others view me, being biracial is one of the many things that makes me!
Don’t spend your life trying to fit in a box! Always be true to you and own who you are! Life will be so much easier.