As a high school teacher, I have the privilege of staying in contact with some truly lovely little souls. One of my former students, Callie, keeps a blog that she recently shared with me. This little gal has long left the nest of high school and has moved on to college where she is fulfilling her dream to someday be a teacher. I found this latest piece about self-acceptance that she wrote to be so beautiful;and sweetly, she gave me permission to post it here. Callie is an inspiration to me, perhaps you too will find this piece uplifting.
Little did I know that when I started teaching seven years ago, I would learn so much from the students that came into my life. What a gift I have been given. Here is to Callie and is to embracing ourselves as we are...
Since before my time, racism has taken over the world. Black stereotypes, white stereotypes; where do the mulatto's fit in?
My father is a black man and my mother is a white woman. My skin is fairly light, as that of a pure Caucasian. I have African American features, but that does not make up for my absence in color. Most biracial children have tan skin and thick, luscious hair and brown eyes. I, on the other hand, have pale skin, green eyes and curly hair. It is apparent that I am not just a white kid, but it's always a mystery what ethnicity I am.
My catlike eyes and full lips give off the impression of a Latina. In this, I have studied Spanish over the course of five years and am now fully bilingual. Through grade school, I would lie to people and tell them that I was white and Mexican. I fooled everyone with my accent and I made it seem as if I really was Latina. The language came as easy as learning to ride a bike; once you learn, it's nearly impossible to forget.
Living with an all black family and being abandoned by my white relatives, I came to resent the white side of me. As early as the age of twelve, I had already rejected everything “white” in my life. All my friends were black, my boyfriends were black, etc.
After high school, I enrolled in a Historical Black College where I, myself was the minority. My peers reject me for my skin color; I have found a new age of racism. The hate and cruelty I have experienced for simply looking different is unbearable.
I have been called a liar all my life because nobody believes that I am black. More than anything in the world, I hate to be called white. My father says that I try too hard to be "black," but how am I supposed to act when I do not even know who I am?
I have battled between being "white" and being "black" my whole life. I wished my pigment would change overnight. Insecure in my own shell, I changed everything in my life to be like the people I admired the most. My sisters were all darker than me, even the sisters that were mixed with white. Being the only fair-skinned person at family reunions made me stick out like a sore thumb. Speaking differently, listening to different music, affected my personality.
The fact that I eventually could not differentiate between "white" and "black" saved my life. Being two races, white and black, I have only recently accepted myself for what I will never be. Looking different than how I feel, I do not think I will ever be comfortable looking in the mirror. All I know is that I am simply a young, pretty, mixed girl in America trying to fit in. Whether I am white, black, orange, blue, or green .. I will always be "Callie."