A Unique Gray
Before you read this, I ask that you have an open mind. Try to place yourself in my shoes for a few minutes. 🙂
Being biracial, I am always caught in the “gray area.” I mean this as literally as people will take it.
As you can see, my mother is “white” and my father is “black.” I will use quotations on the words “black” and “white” because it is important that we acknowledge the fact that race is a social construct utilized to divide us and has historically caused much pain for the Black race…(this goes deep historically, but that is a lot to explain for this short post). What I am saying is that we are all human beans. 😉
The fact that I am “black” and “white” based on societal standards, has brought me much pain over the years. Growing up, I was not accepted by white people, but I was also not accepted by black people. I was quote on quote, “a mut.” And, well, the comment I heard the most from kids my age was, “your mother was raped by a slave!” followed by laugher. But, according to racist ideals, I was black by default.
Being caught in this gray area has been troubling. Yes, I am gray, but I can admit that I’ve struggled with my identity for large portions of my life. I wasn’t black enough, but I also wasn’t white enough. I have hated my mother because she is white. I have also hated myself for being black and not accepted by society. After-all, though, how could I advocate for the emancipation of the black race when my mother is the color of the “oppressor”? As a result, I ended up hating myself for having lighter-skin, for not being able to identify with both sides of myself. I am a mixture of white and black, a unique type of gray, and that is just how things worked out. I cannot go back and select my mother as black, or my father as white, and I wouldn’t want to, even if I could. But, it took me 21 years to decide that, and it is still permeating in my mind as an ongoing battle.
I have read some pretty amazing books that have explained this identity struggle, that is, of being gray, such as The Color of Water by James McBride. His story was specifically relatable, and in fact, inspiring. Also, Ahjamu Umi’s book The Courage Equation really placed things into perspective for me. We should shift our focus to the system…
Yes. I am “two or more races”-as many of us are- but I do believe strongly in individualism and self identification. Does the fact that my mother is white really matter….? I just want to live.
Does society push you to stand where you are, or is it by choice?
We are all gray…
If I am gray, I am gray, and I am happy about that.