Picture this…. it was the 90’s, in the suburb of Long Island, New York. An ambiguous looking girl with unruly wavy/curly hair and big glasses, enters high school for the first time, a little nervous and excited, she has few friends because they moved away or were jealous of this young girl. She wanted to feel accepted by her peers, and not so alone, going through parents divorce. Being of mixed-race was pretty rare when I was younger. It’s not to say there weren’t many around just not where I was. I felt like I didn’t fit in because of my very Ambiguous look. I didn’t belong to one race or another. I started to feel normal when Mariah Carey came on the scene because she was similar to my complexion and was Mixed (still a Fan), she got me through some tough times…..
I was raised by a very beautiful, smart, strong, resilient Afro- Native American mom and a handsome, musically talented, free-spirited Caucasian dad (who I never thought of as white), who themselves come from very diverse, loving and open-minded families. I was taught and exposed early on that even though I am Mixed, people won’t always treat me as an equal. Meaning because I am half black (despite the fact that I am lighter complected) I will be treated as a Black woman, so I had to be fight three times as hard to not become a statistic. I made sure to stick to the straight and narrow and overcome any obstacle thrown my way. Throughout my childhood and high school years people began to treat me as such by calling me racial slurs called an (Oreo), tried to burn my hair in class all because they wanted to see me flinch. I was teased about my skin-color, my speech all because I looked and sounded different. I lived in a racially and culturally diverse neighborhood with friends from all over and we got along great. The funny thing about it all is what people Assumed I was based on my features and skin-tone. It used to offend me because I can see my ethnicities in my features and coloring, I just couldn’t understand why I had to look so different, when all I wanted was to fit in. I didn’t appreciate my Ambiguity for many years.
Fast forward a bit to my junior year where I met the one person whom I felt absolutely and totally comfortable with because she was/is my best friend. Our friendship and sisterhood is still going strong. She allowed me to feel comfortable being weird and different, and didn’t judge me based on how or why I felt more comfortable with one side. It was Us against the world. I blossomed from a shy quiet girl, to a Bold, beautiful, smart young woman. I started attracting more friends that were accepting of me, and to those that weren’t whelp……Bye Felicia…
2017… and beyond… I am now more accepting of myself and my many ethnicities, even when people ask ” What are you?”, What is your nationality?” etc. I accept and am extremely proud of my ambiguity. There are ,and will always be ignorance and assumptions, but It’s not my job to teach the ignorant about race, it is however my job to dispel any negative connotations that people may have about Mixed raced people, because these are the things that make us special and unique. Being the product of two human beings who fell in love despite being of different races themselves, is always a story of strength and adversity.
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