Losing My “Whiteness?”

Important post about race in America and the challenges of conversion. The emotional and spiritual strength converts go through should be a lesson for all of us…

The Safek

Race is a complicated, emotional issue, particularly right now in the US.  For me, though, my focus lately is much more on something much closer to me than the headlines, but I didn’t realize it until I was discussing recent headlines with a friend who happens to be a person of color.

She said something that suddenly touched a nerve in me.  I was suddenly defensive, angry even.  It’s really irrelevant what she said because, as we talked further, I realized that how I was feeling had very little to do with what she had said and everything to do with me.

I felt the need to defend “whiteness” and that need came from…feeling as if my own “whiteness” was now in question.

I grew up in a very rural community with just 0.5% minorities in our school.  Her name was Lily and she was half Vietnamese and looking back…

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One Reply to “Losing My “Whiteness?””

  1. Most interesting post. Being a mixed-race “person of color” (I don’t like that term), I tend to take a different approach to this topic.

    As a child, I lived in a neighborhood that was primarily Mexican immigrants, to include my own father. I was lighter-skinned, because my mother is white.

    This caused me no-end of issues as I was mercilessly picked on and bullied for being light-skinned. They made fun of my skin, my mother’s skin, her hair, her eyes, etc. She was a red-haired, blue-eyed, freckled white woman in a Mexican barrio less than half an hour from the Texas-Mexico border.

    We eventually moved away from there (separate and unrelated story), to central Texas. From there, we moved to neighborhoods that were primarily white.

    Initially, I was nervous. I’d never seen that many white people in one place. In fact, oitside of my mom’s family, I didn’t know any other white folks.

    The people I encountered were very accepting. They didn’t care that my dad’s from Mexico. They didn’t care that I have a Mexican lastname, speak Spanish and still cling to much of my traditional heritage. None of that mattered to them.

    Granted, I’m culturally and racially different from them. I’m an Aztec surrounded by Anglos, which means that I’m very different, in ways they don’t generally understand.

    However, I’ve seldom ever experienced the discrimination I experienced as a child. The majority of the whites I’ve dealt with have been kind to me.

    Does this mean I’ve been sheltered from prejudiced whites? No. Sadly, I’ve encountered my fair share of ignorant whites who could use a high-five to the face, but I don’t allow it to get me down.

    Just thought I’d throw out my own thoughts on this.


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