Fearfully and Wonderfully Mixed Up

My skin. Look at my skin. What am I? I am a mixed girl in a obscure world. When I would play on the playground. Small, this high, my wide eyes didn’t yet recognize the lies. I didn’t know who to play with. The black children would be running around, purple hands pumping up and down. Hoping to hear that clear swish sound. The white children on the other hand would be sitting down, alabaster fingers clenching polychromatic playing cards. And I would stand. In the middle of the crowded playground, not making a single sound. I didn’t know where to stand. I don't think you quite understand. I wasn't white enough. I wasn't black enough. Each race would make comments. The white children would comment on my voice. How loud...I was. How annoying. Black. The black children would comment on my character. How ghetto I was...not.  How white. I was a little mixed girl. And I was confused. I was a little mixed girl who was never able to wear the jeans the other kids used. My dad would take one look at me and shake his head. “Go change.” Why? Because I had a black butt and someone still had the audacity to call me white. As if being white was an insult. When I would ramble off about black ink and crisp pages, you, my black “friends” would snicker and say, “that's so white.” Loving to slip into other worlds and experience new adventures is white? And I would feel bad. So I would delete the white part of me when I was around my black friends. And I would smile as if it was normal. As if it didn't bother me. Because crying, crying was for white people. My so called friends wouldn’t accept both parts of me so they would tuck and pluck to make me like them. Black. White. It didn't matter what my skin color was. All that mattered was that I wasn't different. My black friends taught me to say the word nigga. Not my white friends. Not racists. My black friends. Like it was a trophy. Like it was some sort of medal to be won. But in secret, when I was by myself I felt like vomiting. All I was looking for was anyone. Anyone to guide me. Take me by the hand and free me. That's when a friend, a little mixed boy like me said. “You are the product of freedom.” My father's ancestors were slaves. My mother's slaveowners. But here. In 21st Century America I am alive. I am alive because of freedom.

So friends, I don't need a black card. I am still offended when people say the word nigger. And I am still black. I drink tea to calm my nerves and wear chokers because I like them. And I am still white. So please. Don't tell me what I am. Don't imagine to believe that I am less than who I am. For I am not simply black. I am not simply white. I am fearfully and wonderfully mixed...up

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