Race matters to me, but not in the way you might think.
As a beautiful summer day in Milwaukee took its last breath and surrendered to dusk, I strolled with my two musketeers on either side: my twin sister Sam and my cousin Whitney. We proudly possessed the carefree mindsets of seven-year-olds; thoughts of tomorrow did not cross our minds once, much less the different amounts of melanin that graced our young features.
“Hey,” a neighborhood boy’s voice emerged among snickers. “What are y’all? Are y’all white?”
His eyes locked onto mine, waiting for an answer. I looked down at my hands, which did, to my surprise, appear lighter as night fell.
Embarrassed brown pupils met another set from across the sidewalk. Mustering all of the confidence I could, I declared, “I’m not white! I’m golden!”
Those two boys laughed until tears streamed down their cheeks, but I, on the other hand, was puzzled by the whole reaction. I tried to put the mortifying thought out of mind, but after that fateful summer night, I began to wonder about the strange concoction of mediums that made up my caramel-colored skin and the genetic combination responsible for my thick, curly mane of hair. My story was not merely skin-deep.
In 1978, my African-American father, a quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers, and my White mother, an aspiring nurse, met for the first time on the UW-Madison campus at the thrilling age of nineteen. They grew close instantly, but their parents did not share the enthusiasm they felt for their budding love. A troubling past experience with another Black man tainted my mother’s family’s view of my father, unearthing a bias that stubbornly remained in my grandfather’s heart. Despite this, my father never uttered a foul word to him and cared for him when he fell ill. As my grandfather’s health faded, so did his uneasiness toward his daughter’s relationship. My father’s mother also had reservations about my parents’ relationship, a relationship that, in her eyes, was doomed. She had lived through the case of Emmett Till, a boy beaten to death after daring to look at a white woman, and she feared for her son. Yet over time, my grandmother’s developing love for my mother eclipsed the potential threat of her fair skin. After facing doubt that their relationship would survive, my mother and father emerged as stronger human beings and cultivated a more powerful sense of love for one another.
This love that radiates from my parents every day manifests itself in me. I am proud to be a woman of color when I feel the warmth of the hugs I receive from my father’s family, when I taste spicy greens and warm corn bread, and when I sing Stevie Wonder songs in the back of the car with my father. I am proud to be a woman who recognizes her European roots when I hear stories of young immigrants from the beautiful lands of Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and Ireland, when I share stories with the O’Brien side of my family, and when I savor bites of lefse during the holidays.
Yes, race matters to me, but not in the way you might think. In this nation, we have used race as a means of diminishing other humans for selfish reasons. For me; however, one’s race does not have to be viewed in a negative light; it need not be a reason to categorize or to dehumanize. It can be a powerful way to recognize what you embrace as part of your own flesh and blood. I no longer see my biracial heritage as material for a racial identity crisis, but instead as my way of connecting to others and ridding the world of searing stigmas and stereotypes.
Fuck this is great. Please read.
alternate ending to the third hobbit movie
thranduil walks around the battlefield and spies the dead bodies of fili and kili
and then he kneels down and touches them gently with one finger and they come back to life
and everyone lives happily ever after
thranduil is secretly ned the piemaker