Monday, November 26

I'm too complicated...

Apparently I was white in high school. I was never informed of this fact. I thought I was born an interracial girl and I have been my entire life. Now I find out there were four years when I was white. Nice of my classmates to finally let me know.
Over and over again at the reunion men came up to me and told me that they had had crushes on me in high school or that they had really wanted to ask me out. These were all Black men. Two of them were men I would have said yes to. I spent my high school nights either in the theatre or on the couch in my house. I didn’t date. I had one boyfriend and he was white. He was also the only person who ever asked me out.
I had three sets of friends: theatre friends, black friends and white friends. I spent most of my time with my theatre friends because race wasn’t an issue – or if it was there were so many other issues we thought were more important (artistic freedom, dramatic craft…yeah, we were THOSE kids).
Apparently a byproduct of my not feeling like I fit in anywhere and having your basic ‘tragic mulatto’ adolescence is that I was perceived as being or wanting to be white by my black classmates. So, what do you do when someone comes up to you and basically tells you that you aren’t black enough?
I’m sure James over at Acting White could come up with some well thought out, moderate reaction. Field Negro and Angry Black Woman wouldn’t have had that problem. Would they have been on the other side? How fucking pathetic is it that I am still thinking about this at 28 years old? How long will it take me to make peace with myself? When I graduated I decided I would no longer try to court friends of any race. I am who I am; my parents and family are extremely diverse. This is my life and if others can’t understand it or would rather judge me than get to know me there is nothing I can do about that.
Yeah, right.
The thing is that we are all different. After the reunion some friends and I ended up at an after party. It happened to be all black. I was relaxed in a way that I hadn’t been in a long time. I was also tense in a different way than I had been in a long time.
My idea of paradise is an interracial neighborhood. I would love to be surrounded by kids like me: Guatemalan/Thai, Black/White, Portuguese/Japanese, mix it up… go crazy… maybe if everyone else’s lives were more complicated mine could be simple.
Or maybe the African American community could stop judging ourselves and others against some idea of whiteness and learn to embrace all the shades and colors we are.
Or I could just get over it.
Uh huh.
Sure.

9 Comments:

His Sinfulness said...

I'm so sorry that your race (perceived or actual) is still an issue. Our country is quite advanced in some ways, and so medieval in others...

WNG said...

Which I'd be fine with if it was all turkey legs and lances...
I did have a great (read:drunken) time at the reunion though.

NoRegrets said...

Your blog background is black so you gotta be black! Just kidding, and maybe not funny but I thought I'd take a chance. You can cuss me out if you want.
I think people see what they want to see. When I was traveling in Europe, I was whatever nationality the person wanted me to be. French, German, Italian, Russian... though I don't think anyone ever guessed Polish, which is what I am.

WNG said...

Funny, NoR, strange, but funny :)
Mama G used to get Spanish all the time. She's actually Scottish and Cape Verdean, but no one would have ever guessed that. Little old ladies would start speaking to her in Spanish on the A train when we lived in New York and they'd get pissed when she didn't understand them.

NoRegrets said...

Strange is one of my middle names...

WNG said...

One of?

Jay said...

I was trying to think up some really intelligent comment to make here concerning this post. But, everything I write makes me look stupid. LOL

WNG said...

You're not stupid Jay, no worries.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

The concept of race is outdated as most Americans are of mixed ancestry, whether or not they know it.

We are all one race - human - and our similarities are far more important than our differences.

Skin color is interesting to me in the same way as hair and eye color, just variations which make people beautiful in different ways.

I just don't get why our society is still so fixated on this issue.