Finding My Identity

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Copy Editor

When you see me, you see a light-skinned girl with dark brown hair and dark eyes. I look white, and that is what most people assume. However I am more. I am Asian Indian and I am African American. I am mixed, but that leaves me as an outsider on all ends when it comes to my race.

My Mom’s parents are African American and Asian Indian. My Dad’s parents are white. I do not know where I fit in. I cannot say I am black because I have white skin. I cannot say I am Asian because of the color of my skin. I cannot say I am white because my hair is too thick and curly and my body is too curvy. I am not enough of anything to be allowed to be a part of any one race. I feel like no one race would truly accept me.

In light of everything that has happened in the last week in the media, questions have popped into my mind. I wanted to post some things on my social media so I could share my thoughts but I was afraid. Simply because I feel like no one would see me and my opinion as enough. However, I want to know who gets to chose who is enough. How do they decide who would be enough? Why are they the ones who get to chose?

I feel like there is a stereotype that one has to fit into in order to be consider that race. You have to look a specific way to be acknowledged by others who share that race. The way I look is just not accepted by any of the races that I have in me. I can pass as white, but they cannot relate to situations I find myself in. I cannot share how sometimes my jeans will rip in the thigh because my waist and thighs are too curvy. I cannot share that when it is humid my hair is so frizzy and curly that sometimes I cannot get my brush through it. I cannot complain about my thick, fast growing hair and how often I have to shave. Those are struggles that I do not really feel I can talk about outside my family because despite these struggles in the eyes of lots of people, I do not relate to the other races enough to claim to be them.

I have it better then my sister. She has darker skin then I do but is still considered too white in some views of African American and Asian Indians. She cannot claim to be white due to her skin but she cannot claim to be anything else and be accepted as enough. We are simply not enough.

I know that because of my skin I have some white privilege but because of my sister’s skin and my mother’s skin I have seen the other side. It is unfair that we have to live divided from others of our races because they view us as not enough. It is harmful to our self-esteem, our personal views and our lives in general. I cannot share my mundane complaints because I fear the backlash I could get. I am simply too scared to share any of my feelings that could indicate a specific race because of the backlash I could get. I have learned how to live in the middle, as have my siblings.

I want to belong, I want to share all of my experiences about race without fear. I want to learn about the cultures I have in me without people judging me. I want my sister to feel like she belongs, to not be told that she is too whitewashed.  I want to feel comfortable in my skin. I want to not have to chose between what race to be. I want to be me.