Ethnicity: Other

"You sound really white."

"You're an inside out oreo."

"What's it like having a black dad?"

"You don't sound black."

"You're the whitest black girl I've ever met."

"You were raised white."

"Choose one ethnicity: white, black, or other."

These are just some of the things I heard growing up as the biracial queen that I am. While some of them are not super insensitive, they are definitely pointed and not things that everyone hears. In honor of Black History Month, I want to talk about my experience growing up ~black~. P.S. Do not be afraid to use that word in most contexts, unless it's a negative context. People all the time are like "well he was (pause) black." Like, just say it. It's not offensive to be black or say someone is black, when they are. It's offensive to treat people negatively because they are.

Growing up I didn't always notice a huge difference between myself and others. I especially didn't notice a difference in my parents. They were never "white mom" and "black dad" to me, they were always just mom and dad. They loved me unconditionally and that's all I could ever ask from them. When people asked me how it was growing up with a black dad, I never knew how to answer, and truth be told I still don't know how. My dad is the strongest, hardest working, most loving man I've ever met, despite his skin color or where he came from or who he is, he just is. It never made a difference that he was black, because to me he was just my loving and faithful father. Also, he's always been black so I never have anything to compare it to.

As far as being "raised white," I don't know where to begin. I was raised how I was raised. I like to think I have a diverse background and parents who raised me to have good morals and beliefs, despite the "color" of those morals. Commenting on how someone was raised is insensitive in itself, even if you don't mean to be racist about it.

In terms of my behavior being classified as "white" or "black"..........girl. We have to stop stereotyping everything. I'm definitely guilty of it, too, so this is my pledge to stop. When we stereotype things, we're implying that these things that make us human and make us who we are, are negative. Sounding black is never a bad thing. If a black man speaks intelligently, he is speaking like himself, not speaking like he's white. If a white girl talks with a lazy tongue, she is speaking like she has been spoken to, and isn't trying to "act black." We have to be better at classifying things according to race. Let's all try to do a little better with how we classify things in our speech. Call them like they are, not like what they seem to be.

Lastly, for the love of everything, quit making "other" an option for ethnicity. I am white. I am black. Being both makes me who I am. I am a perfect combination of my mother and father, nothing less. Being an "other" is insulting. We have come too far in this country to be considered an "other."

This month always allows me to assess my privilege and be thankful for the way I grew up, the situations I had, the parents God gave to raise me. I am so grateful for every part of myself. The good, the bad, the white, the black, and everything in between.


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