While I was growing up, I’ve encountered many forms of racism. I won’t go into so much detail, but I will provide the basics – I’m White, Black, and Hispanic. I’ve always thought it was so cool to be a mixture. I liked my skin color. I liked my hair – no matter how many times it gets frizzy and fails on me. I may not have had the confidence about my physical self. I always thought that no matter what you are made of, you are awesome!
I dealt with issues of racism from my own family. All sides of my family. Of course being children, they aren’t obvious to you about it. When you and your siblings aren’t included in family beach days, cook outs, birthday celebrations, and random phone calls/visits. . . You start to notice things that other family members or friends don’t experience. When I had to put in the effort to see my family and friends that don’t return the effort, I started to wonder what is wrong with me. The only difference that was obvious was me and my siblings’ race.
I got to witness gatherings and hear about events that I wasn’t included in because my close immediate family is non-existant to the other realms of our families. I got to feel secluded from my own DNA. Once I got older and people started to ask me what I was…they made me feel just as worse as my family did. The comments were terrible. I was told I didn’t look White, so I couldn’t be it. I didn’t speak Spanish, so I couldn’t be Hispanic. My skin wasn’t dark enough, so I couldn’t be Black. I look Hispanic, I couldn’t be Black/White. That to me didn’t make sense because I didn’t think it should have mattered. It just so happens that the Hispanic side of my family is mostly White – blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. If I explain to someone who is White or Black that my color comes from being Black and not Hispanic because of my previous sentence, I’m in denial of Black Hispanics. It honestly frustrates me so much I don’t even like to answer the question, but with I’m American or Black.
I doubted myself for a long time. I hated being mixed. I hated being disliked, treated differently, and hated because of something that is out of my control. I didn’t choose to be this way. I didn’t have a say in my ethnicities and race. I still put a smile on my face, I held my high, and I stayed positive. I kept it moving even though I hated myself. Even though I felt depressed and I didn’t want to look in the mirror. I took pictures of myself in silly old-school MySpace flashy ways. I wanted to see myself on screen without blemishes, without looking like I’m any particular race. I remember chatting online with strangers and not admitting what my race was, because online I was bullied about being Black or multi-racial. I’ve been rejected by guys because of my race(s), too.
As I got out of high school and into working full-time, I encountered people who spoke to me about being proud and happy about myself. I met others who have dealt with the same ridicual that I had experienced with being mixed. I have more respect and appreciation for my Black side. People of color come in all colors. People of color deal with and, unfortunately, understand racism and prejudice very well. It happens by walking into store, walking past someones car, speaking properly, or even expressing emotion.
Other people of color made me appreciate myself, made me think about the positive aspects of my color, my history. I was encouraged to study my history. I was encouraged to appreciate my color, my races, my history – no matter how horrifying. I am not singled out for expressing how proud I am of being Black. I still experience harassment for being Hispanic and not speaking Spanish. Which to me is odd because when I bring up my other nationalities/races that have other languages, it doesn’t matter. And of course, I don’t look White so I’m just not it.
I feel that I take more pride and appreciation in being Black. I feel like the issues and struggles that I experience, I can only relate to other people of color or mixed raced individuals. I can’t explain my feelings or experiences to someone who hasn’t lived them. I can’t relate to someone who never wants to relate to me. I love the things that make me who I am. I love, especially, being Black.
So my question is: Can I promote Black Empowerment while being Multi-racial? I believe so, yes. Who can empower ourselves better than ourselves? We are always depicted as angry, ignorant, uneducated, ugly, poor, and plenty of other harsh stereotypes? I have so many friends who love to spread education, history, and appreciation about Black people. I have so many friends who are open minded to the bullcrap that is going on in 2018. I mainly have black friends, who understand black problems.
I really wanted to go into more detail about the social/racial injustices that occur more often because of videos, social media, and Donald Trump. I think for that subject, I’d need to just direct that in one post. At the same time, I’d still like to preach to my friends who are White, who have grown up in and around racism, but are woke. They get it. Kap kneels and they get don’t claim offense or disrespect for his actions. Someone gets killed in their own apartment by cop trespassing on their property, they are just as upset as people of color are.
Well, I breezed into that subject but you get my stance on those kind of issues. I don’t feel valued or appreciate by my white counterparts. I don’t feel that way about every white person. I don’t hold out on friendships or interactions with other people because of my negative experiences. I just treat everyone the same unless you treat me in a different way. I don’t want others to look at me and feel that I need to be treated differently. I wouldn’t ever want someone to feel that from me.