Black Women : White Mother, Black Daughter - Identity Crisis!

Discussion in 'Black Women - Mothers - Sisters - Daughters' started by Lina, May 10, 2010.

  1. Lina

    Lina Member MEMBER

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    Hi! I'm new to these forums and glad to have joined. I have something that I want to post right off the bat. I decided to post it here since I'm a female and though I'm a teenager I'd rather have adult opinions, however please tell me if I should move this to another section. Oh and sorry for the length :/

    So here's my situation. I'm a 16 year old black Canadian female. I was raised as an only child by my mother, who is white. My father was black but I've never met him or his side of the family.

    All my life I was raised in white communities and I've barely ever even seen another black person in my life. I've certainly never personally met/conversed with one. So from a young age I was always extremely self conscious. I thought I was the only one like me in the world! Especially when I was younger I had people asking me questions - about my hair, about "if my face is brown, does that mean my whole body is brown?" - innocent questions because they were also coming from younger children, but it all served to make me feel different and alien. Even going to family reunions, where everyone looked French and Italian and I looked black, made me feel out of place and embarrassed.

    Then when I started getting racist comments it lowered my self esteem even more. Even my own (step) sister has called me the "N" word and my step brother has said racist things to me aswell. Whenever someone said something to me of that nature, it felt like the whole world, or at least my (white) world, was against me, and there was nothing I could say back that would effect them in the same way. It was a verbal weapon that caused a psychological wound. What it made me think in my mind, was that secretly everyone hated me but some people just didn't say it to be nice.

    As a result I became EXTREMELY shy and nervous. I couldn't speak. I was struck with anxiety in public places. At recess I would stand in one spot pressed against the wall because I was scared that if I entered anyone's "zone" they would be mad or disgusted. I've always been sensitive and caring and I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I kind of felt like I was this blemish on the Earth.

    I really started hating that part of me that was different. I wanted to amputate my "black" side. I tried everything I could to separate myself from it, and I overcompensated to make sure that everyone knew I was part of "their" community. I wouldn't even listen to music by black people. On the Internet I'd lie and say that I was a white redhead. I became angry when people mentioned or talked about me being black. When asked my ethnicity I always said "French" and "Italian" first.

    I remember one time, I was in the mall and I happened to see a black couple (which was rare for me). When we happened to cross paths I deliberately moved away from them because I didn't want people to think that we were in a group together. Because then I thought people would think I was not part of their community and that they would exclude or avoid me. I know it sounds horrible but you have to understand where I was coming from, and you have to understand that sometimes stupid thoughts that you create in your head as a very young child stick with you later in life.

    So it's really only been in the last couple of months that I've started to accept myself. I started learning about powerful and beautiful black women and about our culture and it made me very, very proud. I now want to be identified as "black", not "white" and I prefer it over "mixed" aswell. I realized that black women are seriously the most beautiful, sexiest women on the planet, no offense to anyone else :)!

    I've started talking to my mother about it and she's so happy that I've accepted myself - when I first mentioned it she started crying! She told me all about black culture, history and great black people and even exposed me to black movies and music. I guess even though she's white she's had a strong interest in black culture and the majority of her partners have been black aswell.

    I borrowed a Black History textbook from the school and mom said we should take the course together. I think all of this will help me love myself for the first time. I feel like I've been in a 16 year long drought and now I thirst to learn about that side of me that I've always suppressed. I did even catch myself feeling a bit of anger towards white people at first but I quickly caught myself. One remaining issue is that I still don't have anyone to talk to that is actually black and I really am dying to meet others like me. When I'm 18 I'll be moving to Toronto where hopefully I'll be able to meet a group of other black women (and men) - I think I'll cry when that happens! It's also one of the reasons I joined these discussion boards.

    So. I'm actually not sure what the point of this post was, I just really needed to get this out. Thanks for listening and reading and if you have any thoughts/opinions/similar stories please share them!

    Peace, Love, and U.N.I.T.Y,
    Lina :)
     
  2. medusanegrita

    medusanegrita Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    oh boy :rolleyes:

    Welcome to Destee, and welcome to the forums.

    It's late or too early in the morning, and I'm gonna leave this. This is one of those subjects I can get riled up about, very opinioned about, and very stern in my opinions.
    I don't want to scare you, intimidate you, or come off as a bully.... so this might be my last post here to you on this subject.

    I will tell you that Destee is very pro black and black oriented. What you described are issues and symtoms of white supremacy which is utterly despised.

    You are on a journay of self discovery, and it is not only one of race but that is going to be the most momentous factor for you. This is (or can be) part of your journey. You will get a lot of information here.
    Please look around, and share your opinions/ideas as you see fit to do so.

    Good luck on your journey, I wish you well and I'm sure you will do well, judging by what you wrote.

    I also want to introduce you to the website www.couchsurfing.com. When you are there, try joining the subgroup http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=5155

    It is a travel group where black people and people of color share their experiences of travelling as a person of color. There are many there who are canadians, some mixed. They can give you information on Toronto.

    Again, welcome and happy journey :wave:
     
  3. Knowledge Seed

    Knowledge Seed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That's a very unique story.

    I've got a friend who's mother is white and father is black. Her parents aren't together but she knows both of them.

    Other the hand, I have a friend who is completely black but was adopted and raised by a white couple. I don't think she knows her biological father but she maintains a distant relationship with her mother.

    If you're interested in connecting with others in a similar situation as you, start a conversation about interracial children on here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Interracial-Relationships/111295120943?v=wall
     
  4. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Hi Lina,

    Welcome. Can you clear up something that confused me. You said you were raised as an only child then you mentioned your step sister and step brother saying racist things to you. What is the living situation? Do your step brother and sister not live with their/your mother and you? Are they older or younger than you?

    ALL Black people, without exception, who have come in contact with White people have experienced varying degrees of racism. The difference for you seems to be is that you are immersed in a sea of lilly whiteness among White people who have no experience interacting with Black people.

    Another confusing thing, how has "most" of your mothers partners been Black and you have not had the ability to interact with Black people at all?
     
  5. Lina

    Lina Member MEMBER

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    Thanks for your kind words and welcome and for the links too, will definately check them out.
    You don't have to worry about posting your opinions harsh or not, you can post anything on your mind and I won't be scared off or think you are a bully!
    I'll admit that after posting this I almost had a full blown heart attack and wanted to delete it, I still feel as if people will come after me with pitchforks and cut my head off whenever I say anything lol! But that wore off and I don't mind you being straight up with me. :)

    You mentioned "white supremacy" - I really don't want people to think that I'm a white supremacist or a racist. The way that I felt/acted was probably how other people would feel/act in that situation. Think about being trapped in a room of 4,000 people wearing red shirts with you wearing the only green shirt. You'd probably feel more self conscious than most. You'd probably get tired of all the questions and comments and wish that you didn't look different. You'd probably overcompensate in some way to be accepted/make sure people knew you were part of the community. etc. etc.

    Hmmm... yeah I should really join Facebook now, I'm kind of behind everyone else on that one! Thanks for the link :)

    Hi :)

    My sister and brother never lived with me but did visit on Holidays. They are 12 and 13 years older than me.

    In the 60s/70s/80s my mother lived in Toronto but I was raised in a small community in Northern Ontario that had around 3,500 people (all white and also Native American). Now we live in a slightly larger town but there's still a lack of cultural diversity here, Northern Ontario seems to be pretty barren in that respect.
     
  6. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    welcome!

    :hi:

    you will be right at home here. when you move to toronto you will find plenty of black people.
    until then we will be your family. relax and enjoy.
     
  7. medusanegrita

    medusanegrita Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I did not mean you. I meant the all-white situations you were around that led you to feeling so different, picked upon, and experiencing instances of racism from white people.

    I'm of the opinion that black people can not be racist. No one has given me a formidable challenge to make me change my mind or make me consider otherwise.
     
  8. Skydaughter

    Skydaughter New Member MEMBER

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    I am in a very similar situation! I'm black and my mom's white. My biological dad and his family live on the other side of the states and I haven't seen them since I was 11 yrs old. I grew up so white my friends have all said at one point or another "wow, I forgot you're black!" I never knew how to act any other way.

    Since at least kindergarten my hair has been relaxed and ironed so much that my mom thought my hair was permanently ruined! I have too many memories of crying as my mom tried to brush my hair. Ended up breaking 3 brushes from their handles and too many combs to count. One time I was in a hair salon that catered to blacks (most white folks here don't know how to handle black hair) getting half-backs. An older woman looked at me and asked, "Doesn't that hurt?" I didn't realize that I hadn't winced as my hair was pulled. I answered, "Yeah, but I've had worse." My scalp had gone somewhat numb from brushes pulling it and being burned by the chemicals in relaxers. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that we decided to cut it short, let it naturally curl, and use a pick. Even now, I'm just starting to learn to like the rain because growing up rain was BAD. Rain made my hair frizz and curly and that was BAD. It sucks but my mom didn't know what else to do. I'm not trying to hate on her... she did the best she could with what she knew. Resources for blacks are kinda limited here. Not many hair salons (girls generally have their families do their hair and I'm too shy to ask strangers to hook me up). It's a university town but the Black Student Union has like 5 members and I'm not a student.

    My husband is white, but he grew up mainly in california and his step father is black. Sometimes we joke that he's more black than I am (kinda sad lol). In that way, I'm coming to learn more about where I come from and to accept all of myself. Also I found India Arie and thought that the African style she has in some of her music videos was absolutely beautiful! I want to be able to feel that tribal beauty too.

    Sorry for the rant but I saw a kindred spirit and found that as I typed it just kinda came out. I know that I am responsible for myself. As a child I was subject to ignorance. As a growing woman, I am limited only by myself. It was a blessing to find so many good hearted people who can and want to share their knowledge. I look forward to searching for my hidden half.
     
  9. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    welcome!

    to all that i will say "welcome home" :wave:
     
  10. Lina

    Lina Member MEMBER

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    Thank you so much, your warmth and kindness really means alot to me :)

    *falls on the floor in relief and exhales*

    Okay good!!! I am glad to hear that!
    Please don't apologize. Thanks for sharing your story, we have alot in common!

    As for hair, oh man. My mom chemically straightened it at home since I was a little toddler. When I was younger I had to wake up early and sit for hours while my mom tried to do something with it, because the straightner she used only worked to a certain extent and she had to press it or curl it everyday aswell. It was so annoying to see others just take a comb and brush their hair through! I've actually never been to a hair salon because no one around here wants to/knows how to deal with my type of hair, my mom just learned how to do it herself. Since 7 I've had small braids (not the kiddie type, but when I was younger she put a bunch of colourful beads in it). I'm ready for a new hairstyle now but I'm not sure what I want.

    And yes what you said is true, we do only really limit ourselves, sometimes there are obstacles but life is a journey of learning and growing. :heart:
     
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