I come from a mixed background, and I’ve got 2 younger brothers and one sister from my parents. Mom’s white, Dad’s black – both from the deep south. And yes, it’s as complicated as it sounds. Growing up we had “family” members who didn’t accept us. Wouldn’t let us or our dad on certain parts of the land. Crazy but that’s how it was.
Well when I was around 8 or 9 we moved from the military world to a predominantly white town and my parents divorced. It was tough. When my mom would pick us up from school the kids would jeer and call us adopted. Black kids would say we acted white, white kids usually ignored us. My siblings and I were one of the few brown faces at school. I met a girl named Brittany, she was white and had a clef lip, kids were mean to her too… so we found common ground and became best friends.
I have vivid memories of being bullied. To the point of being spat upon. Now mind you, my mom wasn’t the best at doing our hair so I’m sure that didn’t help matters, but man… those kids were cruel. I was called a boy, mushroom head, oreo, afro head, mutt, mixed breed, and much worse.
We ended up moving when I hit middle school. There were more ethnicities where we ended up. Mostly black and Hispanic. It was honestly a culture shock for me NOT being around nothing but mainly white people before. I tried to make friends, but all in vain. I was a huge nerd, awkward, and “ACTED WHITE”. But to have not a single friend – I am serious when I say I had not one single friend there – I HATED Middle School. I was a serious loner.
I started to rebel. Not making any excuses here… just the divorce, moving, no friends, a sh*t step dad, and bullying kind of sent me over the top. So my mom sent me to live with my dad when I was around 13. I moved with him to the DFW area. I started my new school in the middle of my Freshman year, so again I was the new kid and everyone already established their cliques… I was alone again. I was determined to make friends. To get over my shyness and awkwardness. But I can’t tell you how many times I would open my mouth and people would look at me like I had poop on my face. “Why you talkin’ like that? Why you act white? You think you cute huh? So what if you redbone!” Like seriously? What had I done to these people that I thought would embrace me as their own?
The white people once again either didn’t notice me or, when they did, talked down to me. I hated my own voice… hated talking out loud. English class was the WORST; many times I would pray to not be called on to read something out loud… ugh. But not everyone was cruel.
That brings me to Shehab, Mejar and Sayid who were brother and sister, and Assad. My friends from Pakistan. They accepted me with open arms. We were all in ROTC except for Assad (who later became my first “boyfriend”) so we bonded through that. I kind of had a voice in ROTC. Mostly because my Col made me ha! They treated me as one of their own. I was invited to dinner, talked to them on the phone, hung out after school. And was even given a Sari as a gift of friendship. I don’t know why they accepted me into the fold but for the first time since forever I looked forward to going to lunch! I finally had people to sit with! I remember their faces and their kindness to this day. Neither of my people would accept me. I wasn’t a bad kid, yes I was quiet, nerdy, and going through a bit of a Goth stage… but that didn’t phase my new found friends!
Unfortunately, at the end of the school year my dad moved again and I lost touch; it makes me sad when I think of it now. I ended up at another school starting 10th grade. Sitting at lunch alone or with the other loners became the usual. Snickering when I read aloud didn’t phase me anymore. If people talked smack I would just brush it off because I was pretty used to it by now. Plus I had made friends at my old school so I KNEW it wasn’t me. And by 11th grade I started to blossom! Boys started to notice me. None of the girls in my class really had anything to do with me, my best friend was a freshman named Sparkle. I still was a bit of a loner for the most part, never went to a single HS football game or my Prom but at least people got used to me and my ways. I guess as we got older picking just wasn’t what it used to be. Or maybe it was because it didn’t phase me anymore.
You know, I never thought of myself as better than anyone or different…and why did I have to “talk white, or act white”? I was speaking and acting correctly. So to talk or act black is the opposite of that? That doesn’t sound like a compliment. And as for the white people, spitting at me, calling me names, looking at me as less than them, saying I was adopted. What are their parents teaching them? Probably the same crap my family members who didn’t accept us were taught.
And it still goes on. I have 3 beautiful children. One of them came home crying because a kid at school made fun of her hair and said her skin looked like mud… it was like a cut was reopened inside and I fixed that situation quickly. I homeschool them now. I have SEVERAL reasons for that but that situation helped me make the decision. But I digress… back to the issue.
I think there is an underlying, deep rooted issue in black people that started when the lighter skinned folks were taken in to be house slaves instead of working the fields. Yes the semantics are different but the root is still there. It’ just been glazed over with “political correctness” but the stink can still be smelt. In my case I think I got it doubly worse because my mom was actually white so I was automatically an “enemy”. I mean, what other reason did I give to be treated so poorly?
Now as an adult I haven’t had any issues because I joined the military and that’s just a different world. You have to be politically correct and if not you get the boot so the BS isn’t so rampant… PLUS we’re adults now! But when I get on social media and see the crap that is all over the place it makes me sick. #teamlightskin #teamdarkskin BLAH BLAH bullsh*t! I’m sorry, but that’s what it is. There is no freaking team! That is so lame.
And it’s not just black people. It’s Asians, Hispanics, Indians, I’m sure others too! Why are we so obsessed with color?! Or lighter color should I say. That is the stupidest thing. If we could all just be happy with the way God made us. If people could just be kind. To treat others how they want to be treated. I mean seriously, it sounds cliché but it’s simple and it’s the truth. Love who you are and show other’s the same love. If people would start raising their babies that way then this human race might just have a chance. I know I’m doing my part… that’s one positive thing I can pull out of my struggles in life. Maybe I went through what I did to ensure my kids won’t. Or that I would raise them a certain way that’s against the “norm” as it seems. We have to break this cycle of hatred for each other. Black, White, shade variation (so dumb), Muslim, Asian, etc. Our children and our children’s children deserve at least that.