Racial Biases: Growing Up Biracial, My POV
I was not the popular girl in school. It never bothered me but I think on some level the popular girls felt snubbed by my indifference to them. I had friends and to this day my strongest connection are from my home town but growing up had rough moments. Even writing this blog was more difficult than I thought re-living my past through prose.
The mean girls/guys seemed to take pleasure in reminding me that I didn’t belong. “You know you’re not really black, right?”
“Your the whitest black girl I’ve ever met.”
“You're cute for a biracial girl.”
AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE.....
“Did you know your dad’s white?”
These are statements I’ve heard my whole life. Some as early as elementary school. My parents had conversations about race with me at an early age which really helped. My ethnicity is Black, Greek, & Cherokee Indian, being from Oklahoma everyone is typically multifaceted regarding their heritage.
I feel blessed that my parents were encouraging and insistently spoke positive words to me. I have never had issues with self-confidence and the motivational words they spoke really helped with the mean girls\guys.
I am from Tulsa, Oklahoma and that city is racially divided. I wonder what my experience in school and social interactions would have been if I lived elsewhere. Middle school was probably the worse and really opened my eyes as to how different I was. Classmates unfriended me when they found out about my dad's race. “Why didn’t you tell me your dad is white?” Actually, he’s Greek but I’m not going to further confuse you.
They reacted like I was hiding him. “Hello my name is Char and my dad is non-melanated, wanna be friends?” It hurt but my dad always was my dad. Never did I find it odd because he was always my dad. We played dominoes on the weekend. Watched Bond movies and NCAA games. (me and my dad at HS graduation; below)
When we spent time together in public, we got stares which we were used to. One memory that is seared in my brain and I will never forget is an incident at JCPenney when I was a child. The salespeople didn’t believe he was my father and they wouldn’t allow him to escort me to the changing rooms. All I remember is crying and screaming for my dad while the saleswoman dragged me to the changing rooms.
In elementary school, it was beyond awkward hearing teachers gossip about my parents like they were weird. This in turn made me feel like I was wrong. When I was older and worked at Target some of the female managers insinuated the older guy that dropped me off at work was my boyfriend. He couldn’t possibly be my dad because “you’re black”.
It was a challenge at times to think about what part of myself I had to betray or stand up for when my race came up. I like to think of these events as mental life exercises. It weeded the weak friends from the strong. It showed me the maturity level of someone I was romantically into.
It showed me how strong my heart was because none of those things broke me.
I think of all these moments that little by little shaped me until I was empowered enough to find my voice. Team up with my mom, and write this blog. Share my story, our story. I have to say I am very happy with who I am and what I’ve accomplished. My dad would be proud too. If you’re reading this and feel every bit of this….and understand the emotions and story I’ve told…..know you are not alone. Let’s stand together Queen. If you feel alone, you know who to call....your sis Char.