What are you? | Teen Ink

What are you?

February 22, 2019
By yepitspeyton BRONZE, Dallas, Texas
yepitspeyton BRONZE, Dallas, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Mckinney, Texas. 2007. As we walked down the hall, hand in tiny hand, necks craned towards us. I wondered why, but I didn’t really feel compelled to find out. Being a child of around 5 I hadn’t been aware of much. I wasn’t really aware that I had been raised solely by my mother, and my mother alone. It was career day, where the children’s parents would come to our school and present their careers. My mom came too. This was the first time the other children had collectively seen my mom. She looked a lot like every other mom in the class, long hair and artificially sunkissed skin. The only complication was that I didn’t look like the other kids. Though, at that time, it either hadn’t occurred to me or it didn’t matter enough to bother me. “Are you adopted?” No, I was not. Couldn’t they see I was my mother’s doppelganger? My mother had my deep set doe-like eyes, she had my button nose, my thick slightly arched brows- everything lined up to be the aged version of me. “You have to be adopted.” they said .I knew I was different. At the store, white women ran their ghostly fingers through my hair- almost as if they were petting me- but was I too different? All the stories I’d heard involved a hero who was unique in some way. I didn’t realize that being different could be made out to be a bad thing. I am biracial. My mom is white, my dad is black. No, I’m not Hispanic, I’m not Hawaiian, I’m not Indian. I’m mixed. “Yeah, but where are you really from?” Dallas. Barack Obama was elected President. The years after that were increasingly difficult. The teasing had always been there, but I then began to experience something I couldn't make sense of- racism. There was an after-school caretaker who did all the other girl’s hair, with the exception of mine because it was “too nappy.” I was too white to relate to the black kids, yet too black to really fit in with the white kids. I began to hide who I was. We moved to Nowheresville, Texas. I was the only black person in what felt like miles. Being black equated to being “hood”. I did not want to be hood. The sad fact of the matter is, I didn’t want to be black. “What are you?” they asked. “Native American” I’d say, which wasn’t a lie, my grandfather was, but it wasn't the truth. I dyed my hair over and over again to any color that wasn’t natural and got a brazillian blowout so the white boys would consider me as a date to the Winter Ball. When I got to highschool, we moved again. This time to Dallas. What is High School if not a rebellion from The Man? I wish I could pinpoint where something clicked, but it was a gradual process, as most things are. I met someone else who was also mixed. I met a white boy who liked my hair curly. I became friends with people all over the radar: Jewish, Black, Hispanic, Lebanese, White. I didn’t have to explain how my parents met. I became an avid member of the Black Lives Matter movement. When someone asked “What are you?” I would say it didn't matter, because race doesn't define me. But it does matter, because being half black and half white gave me a unique perspective which only 2.9% of the United States has. Being in the middle of things gave me a burning passion to understand and learn and grow- to make a difference. “What are you?” they ask. Cultured, curious, radiant, introspective… “I’m mixed” I answer.



Similar Articles

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 3 comments.


on Apr. 10 2019 at 2:13 pm
Dani_Higareda GOLD, Hanahan, South Carolina
18 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

Great job on your article! I'm so happy that you speak out like this!

on Apr. 10 2019 at 2:13 pm
Dani_Higareda GOLD, Hanahan, South Carolina
18 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

Great job on your article! I'm so happy that you speak out like this!

on Mar. 27 2019 at 5:08 pm
starfeather PLATINUM, Olathe, Kansas
21 articles 0 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
AD ASTRA PER ASPERA- to the stars, through difficulties.

Glad you found yourself and were able to stand up to who you are.