Colorism/Shadeism Project

Kris: Choosing sides

I’m 1/2 east Indian 1/4 black 1/4 white, and as a young child, I spent most of my time being raised was mostly raised by my maternal Indian Grandmother. I remember her telling me so many times as a child how happy she was and how lucky I was that I could pass as ‘full Indian’ and that being of a fair complexion with “good hair” ( what ever that meant) added to my beauty. Even from a young age, I could see how she treated my half black-half Indian cousins adversely because of their dark skin and course hair.

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I feel like my skin complexion as a youth was not as much of a factor for me as my wild curly hair texture was. I remember wishing I had silky bone-straight Indian hair, because then I would not have to straighten it so I could pass as 100% Indian. Now in my 30’s I’m in love with my hair and enjoy how versatile it can be (#happyfroday!) and I embrace my mixed heritage. However, when I was an adolescent I never admitted to being anything other than 100% east Indian.
I was raised hindu and never knew my biological father (he is 1/2 black 1/2 white). Up until I was 10 years old, I never realised I was mixed and not just East Indian. As an adult I acknowledged that i am multi-Ethnic, though i consider myself to be Asian as an East Indian American.
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Interestingly enough for me, as an avid tattoo collector I prefer to remain fair skinned (which means staying out of the sun so I won’t tan). I try to maintain this skin color as, for me, highly detailed fine line tattoos and color tattoos look crisp and vibrant on fair skin. My bff is a very dark chocolate man and he told me he never in his life every considered wanting a lighter complexion until he fell in love with tattoos.
As far as my personal ideas of beauty go towards others, skin color is never a factor. I consider facial features, stature and body type when looking for what I find attractive. I have a 5 year old son who is 1/2 Japanese, 1/4 East Indian, 1/8 black, 1/8 white! I hope to help him with his journey in this world as a multiracial person and help him understand that he doesn’t have to choose sides. I can see that he is already facing adversity in the many interesting ways that I feel only multiracial ambiguous people can.
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