Truckin’… got my chips cashed in: the end to a life of racial ambiguity

There is a strangeness in being mixed race that one could never understood by a person who has never walked in our shoes.

Most mixed race people have a racial ambiguity.  That is to say, people often say “what ARE you?”  to us.  We could be any number of races.  Myself, I have been asked if I am Hispanic, Native American, Italian and even Chinese.  And I consider it an honor when the people of those races and cultures consider me one of their own.  I find ironic too.

It’s ironic that the two races that I am – the Black and especially the White sides – have both rejected me.  Both sides have been quick to remind me that I don’t belong fully in their camp. Black people are much more accepting of mixed race kids into their community.  But even there we get othered.  Through colorism and elitism, it is evident that we are considered a “different” type of Black.

So we remain Stuck In The Middle.

Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right.  Here I am…..

It’s a crazy world when you view it through this lens.  Add the extra layer of the fact I am adopted.  That I was adopted into an intact White home who moved me to total racial isolation is another layer to consider my world view and how strange life seems to me.

So racial ambiguity was like a cloak of invisibility that I could wear as I ended my undergraduate years.  My liberal friends “saw no color.”  I ran with hippies and Deadheads who loved my golden glow.  I was acceptable and accepted as a rainbow of colors.  Which sounds wonderful.  

But I am a mixed race girl.  Black and white.  And I had to reconcile  what that meant.  For no other reason than that the world was gonna force me to understand what my place was in the world as a Black woman.  As a woman who traditionally makes much less her white male counterparts.  As a Black woman who is sexualizwd for her skin tone and hair texture and body shape.  To suddenly be in a world where my intelligence is less sought after than my physical abilities.  Where growing up knowing about “game” and a healthy vocabulary in AAVE (Ebonics) would have helped me tremendously.  

My switch from White girl to racial ambiguity to Black girl was dramatic and highly emotional.  It was full of confusion and anger.  Some that I still haven’t reconciled yet. But I do know I was so angry during these next four years of graduate school and law school.  Very, very angry. And very, very destructive.

About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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2 Responses to Truckin’… got my chips cashed in: the end to a life of racial ambiguity

  1. Lindsey P says:

    Thank you for sharing all that you do. I cannot even count how many times I have been asked “what are you?” I am also a trans-racial adoptee and feel like I am going through an identity crisis. I would love to pick your brain, if that would be ok?

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