The Color Line by Zakariyah
08 Feb 2018 6:08 PM
I title this The Color Line because that is what my life is and has always been. I’ve been separated by two different races my entire life, and have felt the need to pick between the two, sort of like straddling a line.
Being Black and White creates an identity crisis, and I am sure I am not the only one feeling this way. I feel the need to choose between my two different races depending on the environment I am in and it’s time to confront these issues and talk about colorism. It's long over due and I am going to illustrate some of the numerous struggles I have encountered on a daily basis for over 20 years.
- Lost Identity: When in a public place, people seem to point out obvious differences between you and your mixed race family or even you and your peers who have a lighter or darker skin tone. They focus more on what makes you different than what makes you unique.
- Disagreement with how you self-identify: When I’m filling out a paper, and it asks me for my racial identity I used to put African- American every time, but recently I started to put Bi-racial or other because I want to include the other 50% of myself. I started to tell people if they ask that I’m Bi-racial, and some people look at me with a confused face, like I can’t have two different races at the same time.
- Never included: There were times that I was with Black girls who were talking about White girls or I was with White girls and they were talking about Black girls. Both times, I felt the need to keep quiet and not say anything. It’s hard to be a bystander, but it’s even harder to be the one in the middle getting hated on by both sides. It makes you lose a lot of confidence and be ashamed to be in the skin you’re in.
- Isolation: There isn’t one race I would rather be whether it is Black or White. The only thing I want is to be accepted by everyone.
- Still a minority: Regardless of who my parents are or what races run through my blood, society will always view me as a minority. There's no such thing as White privilege when you're half Black. I’ve been profiled, abused, mistreated, and treated unjustly just like any other minority. This is why I, and many other bi-racial people, tend to identify with our black side more because the brownness of our skin already makes up what people think of us.
All in all, I hope you can see that I am not just Black and White. I am much more, just like all of us living on this planet. This world needs more tolerance, compassion, and equality. Colorism is a topic a lot of people don’t talk about because there are a lot of blurred lines, and I don’t even know all the answers, but I do know what I have experienced and what could have made it better.
I hope this gives you clarity and makes you think of how your actions may affect others and skin is only a color. Now, finally, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “I look to a day where people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."