Being Biracial-Personal Narrative I was late for school, and my father had to walk me in to class so that my teacher would know the reason for my tardiness. My dad opened the door to my classroom, and there was a hush of silence. Everyone's eyes were fixed on my father and me. He told the teacher why I was late, gave me a kiss goodbye and left for work. As I sat down at my seat, all of my so-called friends called me names and teased me. The students teased me not because I was late, but because my father was black. They were too young to understand. All of this time, they thought that I was white, because I had fare skin like them, therefore I had to be white. Growing up having a white mother and a black father was tough. To some people, being black and white is a contradiction in itself. People thought that I had to be one or the other, but not both. I thought that I was fine the way I was. But like myself, Shelby Steele was stuck in between two opposite forces of his double bind. He was black and middle class, both having significant roles in his life. "Race, he insisted, blurred class distinctions among blacks. If you were black, you were just black and that was that" (Steele 211). Since Altoona is a primarily white city, I grew up being around white people 90% of the time. The only time I really spent being around blacks was with my father everyday, and with family members on my father's side. So of course I consider myself as being whiter because of the fact that I was raised mostly around white people. I know I don't look like the average white person, or the average black person, but who's to say what blacks and whites are suppose to look like. I have my own unique color. It is what my biracial friends a... ... middle of paper ... ...nce is that blacks aren't trying to make me to be black. They just want to make sure that I don't forget about that side of me. Steele expresses, "What becomes clear to me is that people like myself, my friend, and middle-class blacks generally are caught in a very specific double bind that keeps two equally powerful elements of our identity at odds with each other" (Steele 212) But as long as you, yourself, are ok with your double bind, it shouldn't matter what other people think. You can't help what you were born into. I've learned a lot from being black and white. It has made me much stronger of a person. If I ever had a chance to choose between one or the other so that I wouldn't be stuck in this double bind, I wouldn't. I'm not just white. And I'm not just black. I am both. I am biracial. And the way I see it is that I have the best of both worlds.
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One of Beverly Tatum's major topics of discussion is racial identity. Racial identity is the meaning each of us has constructed or is constructing about what it means to be a white person or a person of color in a race-conscious society. (Tatum, pp Xvii) She talks about how many parents hesitate to talk to their children about racism because of embarrassment and the awkwardness of the subject. I agree with her when she says that parents don't want to talk about racism when they don't see a problem. They don't want to create fear or racism where none may exist. It is touchy subject because if not gone about right, you can perhaps steer someone the wrong way. Another theory she has on racial identity is that other people are the mirror in which we see ourselves. (tatum pp18) 'The parts of our identity that do capture our attention are those that other people notice, and that reflects back to us.'; (Tatum pp21) What she means by this is that what other people tell us we are like is what we believe. If you are told you are stupid enough you might start to question your intelligence. When people are searching for their identity normally the questions 'who am I now?'; 'Who was I before?'; and 'who will I become'; are the first that come to mind. When a person starts to answer these questions their answers will influence their beliefs, type of work, where they may live, partners, as well as morals. She also mentions an experiment where she asked her students to describe themselves in sixty seconds. Most used descriptive words like friendly, shy, intelligent, but students of color usually state there racial or ethnic group, while white students rarely, if ever mention that they are white. Women usually mention that they are female while males usually don't think to say that they are males. The same situation appeared to take place when the topic of religious beliefs came up. The Jewish students mentioned being Je...
In the article “Black Like I Thought I Was,” Erin Aubry Kaplan introduces us to fifty-one year old Wayne Joseph, a man whose entire life was uprooted when he unknowingly opened up the Pandora’s box that his family had managed to keep shut for decades. From his birth Wayne Joseph was, to the best of his knowledge, black. He was raised by his black parents in a black neighborhood, and was more importantly accepted as black by the surrounding black community. All of this reaffirmation of his race gave him little room to doubt that he was anything but black. As he grew, he was molded by his presumed heritage and internalized its culture and values. For over fifty years he had built his life on what he was told. It was not until he subjected himself to a DNA
In his essay, “On Being Black and Middle Class” (1988), writer and middle-class black American, Shelby Steele adopts a concerned tone in order to argue that because of the social conflicts that arise pertaining to black heritage and middle class wealth, individuals that fit under both of these statuses are ostracized. Steele proposes that the solution to this ostracization is for people to individualize themselves, and to ‘“move beyond the victim-focused black identity” (611). Steele supports his assertion by using evidence from his own life and incorporating social patterns to his text. To reach his intended audience of middle-class, black people, Steele’s utilizes casual yet, imperative diction.
I want to make it clear, to those who may question my positionality, that I do not believe that my journey as a white person is somehow special or better than anyone else’s. I do not believe that I hold some sort of special looking glass through which the solution to whiteness can be seen. I am a production of whiteness, and I am also a human being, which means I have many, many, flaws and blind spots that I continue to work on while simultaneously being inhibited by this blindness in my effort to see past it. What I do believe, as Roxanne Gay so beautifully said in Bad Feminist, is that,
I wanted to wear brand clothes/shoes they did, I wanted to do my hair like them, and make good grades like them. I wanted to fit in. My cultural identify took a back seat. But it was not long before I felt black and white did not mix. I must have heard too many comments asking to speak Haitian or I do not look Haitian, but more than that, I am black, so I always had to answer question about my hair or why my nose is big, and that I talked white. This feeling carried on to high school because the questions never went away and the distance between me and them grew larger. There was not much action my family could take for those moments in my life, but shared their encounters or conversations to show me I was not alone in dealing with people of other background. I surrounded myself with less white people and more people of color and today, not much has
It takes an intelligent, genuine person to see past this nonsense. Education helps one realize the fallacy race creates. There is no such thing as a superior race. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty seeing past portrayed stereotypes. It may take a person years or decades to come to terms with the fact that their skin color means about as much as their eye color. Eric Liu, an Asian-American, and Malcolm X, an African-American, take us on their journey through the difficult process of accepting their individual races. Both authors have periods of confusion and disorientation about their races which causes them to change their appearance in order to feel accepted. Ultimately, they overcome their misconceptions and learn to appreciate themselves.
The term “African-American” is one that I hold with great pride. When I look in the mirror, I am proud of my skin and I am proud of my ethnicity. My family is originally from Imo State, Nigeria, and as most foreign families, my parents came to America in search of a better life and higher education for their children. Being born in Boston Massachusetts, at times I could never truly understand the position my parents had on certain topics due to the differences in the culture that we were both raised in. During my first two high school years at Belmont Hill School, my parents would scarcely allow me go to Saturday games and practices for football, basketball, track, or any Saturday event that I needed to go to at my school. I am part of the
I was raised in the suburbs of Atlanta. My father was a black foreign man living in the south. The issue of race was always hovering. My mother, on the other hand, is extremely pale, but is of mixed descent. I can recall countless conversations with strangers when I was young and out with one parent, laughing and saying “Oh, your mom must be white,” or “You’re dad is black, right?” I’d just smile and nod, not thinking much of it.
Yesterday my world crashed around me while I was in Calculus. Yesterday was the thirty first of November, a date I will not forget. My world crashed because I confronted an identity crisis that I had ignored since freshman year. I am Indian but I was raised in several different cultures but none of them a strictly Indian one. It started when I noticed the other Asian kids in my honors classes would all do very well and behaved differently than me. They were what society views that average Asian student to be but I was not, I refused to be. Despite all of that yesterday made me rethink what I thought of myself and what I wanted from myself as well as from the world in the future. It made me truly understand my identity, who I really am, and
The basis for such injustices being done within a race of people can mainly be associated with the subconscious racists thoughts of individuals. These are the thoughts that lay deep within the crevices of one’s mind. The thoughts that an individual is sometimes ashamed to acknowledge. The art of believing that a lighter shade of black is better is primarily a thought process that has plagued the Black community for far too long. Maintaining such beliefs is what causes the racial divisions between light-skinned and dark-skinned Blacks to persist.
an African American has made some moments in my life hard. It has showcased to me that I considered a subordinate as Tatum would say. To add, being a subordinate inside and outside of the classroom has also played a huge part in my life. My first revelation of my race and how it defined me and how people perceive me can be at the age of six. Leading up to this point I was the type of child who found joy in things the many black kids would not. For instance, I would read books before I would think about going outside to play with other kids. To accompany this passion for reading I have a proper dialect, or as people in the African American Culture would say, I talked “white.” I did not
To start off, my life has always been secluded by diversity. I grew up in a town of thirty thousand people in the middle of Nebraska. During my elementary school years, my school consisted of a majority of white students and a few Hispanics. Believe it or not, there was only one African American boy and he ended up changing schools. This is how it was clear up until high school where I graduated with a class of three hundred and fifty classmates and only five of them came from African American heritage. Because of this, I was taught primarily white side of views in history classes, or never even talked about black cultures at all. I finely remember a poster on the wall of a white hand holding a
I find it somewhat funny to ask the question above. For me being a person of African-American descent, allegedly; it’s always interesting to observe myself as an individual and myself as a person who is part of a culture. When you see my appearance I look like someone who is Black, yeah it’s pretty apparent. My skin is pretty dark like milk chocolate candy and my hair is a dark brown. Though people who are not of color often think my hair is black. Hair not only signifies me as a person but as a member of some culture. I remember when I was in the third or fourth grade I had to cutout a paper girl who resembled me. She had the darkest skin like black cardboard paper and then I had to attach pieces of yarn to represent hair on my cutout. I always
I never would have considered myself a typical minority when it came to my racial identity. I know what it takes to be successful, I play the oboe, and even though I come from a not so typical family background, that has never stopped me from continuing to strive in everything I put myself into. My mother and father came from a poor background but were able to overcome this poverty to make a better life for their children and themselves. They both lived in the projects and were not expected to graduate high school let alone attend college. Because of this, my parents have always talked to me how important an education is and I want to continue learning every single day. They have always encouraged me to do the things that I love to do, in
Growing up I would always say that I was White and one day I was expose to the movie “ Imitation of Life” to get a better understanding of how proud I should be of being African American. In my eyes I thought that being White was one of the best things on earth. I was brought up around White people; but it was not until I entered into Clark Atlanta University that I realized that being Black is Beautiful. I attended The Seton Keough High School, which is an all girls’ private Catholic school in Baltimore City. Entering into high school I told myself that I would not allow the people I am around to change who I am. There were days where I would question if Seton Keough was the place for me, realizing that I am who I am regardless of the color of my skin and the color of their skin. Prior to attending Clark Atlanta University I was in a state of mind that prevented me from recognizing the injustice of my current situation, which I would consider a false consciousness agenda.