Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wait, so I’m not Black enough?

Until I was 11 I grew up in a diverse community near Boston. I loved loved my neighborghood, my school, my friends. That is until my Mother moved me and my siblings to the burbs, about 45 minutes away from where I called Home. We moved to an all Caucasian town. Let me repeat that, we moved to an all Caucasian town.

My Mom is African American and that guy, my sister’s father, is Colombian. But no one ever thinks I’m Spanish, booooo. I’ve gotten Blackanese before, lol, a mix of Black and Asian, because of my eyes. But I look black, I am black…and Spanish :)

I hated the burbs, and still do to this day. I never faced outward racism. My oldest Sister and Brother did though. Someone even called them a n***** once (damn shame). My experience in middle school and high school was 100% awkward. I never felt like I fit in and the obvious skin color difference made me feel inferior. So I acted out, I was known as the ‘loud’ one and got into trouble a few times. Don’t remember if I ever got suspended though. I don’t think so, but there is a good chance I did.

My feelings back then were that I wasn’t white enough. I didn’t dress like everyone else, didn’t have the same kind of family life as everyone else. Didn’t have the monographed bag packs, didn’t have the Five Star notebooks, didn’t have the adidas sandals, and didn’t have the Abercrombie shirt. I thought that that was what I needed to fit in. So I tried and tried to fit in, to be friends with the cool kids, but it didn’t feel natural. I didn’t feel like me. I felt like I was putting on a show. A freak show, and I was the star.

My Mom talks proper. I grew up in her house, so I talk proper. I pronounce all of my sy-ll-ab-les. I don’t use slang. Growing up, I talked like everyone else, so no one viewed it as different or weird.

Well that all changed once I moved into the city and an urban environment. People couldn’t connect the way I looked with the way I talked. Suddenly, I wasn’t black enough. I wasn’t laced in Baby Phat, Air Forces, Rocawear, or gold rings. So what did I do? I went out and bought a Rocawear coat and Baby Phat shirts. I never did get into all the gold rings and such, I’m not a flashy person. But, again I didn’t fit in.

I was so wrapped up in trying to be someone else, that I wasn’t being…me. And that’s because I didn’t know who ME was, didn’t know what I wanted. I’m still learning and growing, so I haven’t completely found out who I am yet, but I’m searching for her and having fun getting to know myself in the process.

It just utterly irks my NERVES, when people go through my pictures and ask…why don’t you have pictures with more black people? Why are there so many white people? I still get asked why I don’t live in the hood or inner city and why I ‘talk funny’. People assume I’m stuck up because of the way that I talk…I look at them funny, because since when did talking using zero slang become a thing of the past??

I don’t choose my friends by their skin color. I don’t look in a room and say to myself, I can’t be friends with her because she is Black. I don’t look at my group of friends and count how many Black and White friends I have. I’m friends with people based on their character, their values, and their personality.

I am me.
I am Alexandra Elizabeth.
I am a Woman, a Mother, a believer.
 I am me. 
I am who I am,
love me
hate me.


  1. aaaand you're absolutely beautiful, too - inside and out! : )

  2. Awww! Well Im glad you didnt let them shape you! It is hard growing up to figure out who you really are, but you get there eventually. Kids (and sometimes adults) can be so insensitive to others, but they tend to (and I use that loosely) grow that out and people are accepted for who they are!

    Great post and beautiful pic!

    I am a new follower! Feel free to check my blog out!

  3. Thanks for your support and thanks for visiting Mrs. Green!! People can be so insensitive..its not good and it can really bring you down...if you let it.

  4. Glad to know that I am not the only one who isn't Black enough. LOL. I used to take it personal when people said that but now I just laugh. We are all unique and I chose long ago to just be myself.

  5. what a glorious post! i can so relate as i've always been told that i'm not "black enough" even sometimes by family members! whhhattt?! finding confidence in myself & realizing i didn't have to fit anyone else's ideas of how i should behave or speak or dress has taken time...thanks for sharing!

  6. I have never had to encounter any sort of racism, personally; but I grew up in the south and saw it consistently...daily. It makes my heart ache just thinking about it. I am so lucky that I was raised in a family who is color blind. We connect with all people, can be friends with anyone, and base it on who they are as a person, and not because of their skin color, bank account, or social circle. I grew up in a richie rich part of town, and we were not; so I too, was always trying to fit in, but my Dodge would never magically transform into a Mercedes:)
    Loved your post...I think I'll too be spending a lifetime finding out who I really am. AND I'm so glad that it's not set in stone, that I can evolve, and not just be who somebody else wants me to be.

  7. Just keep doing you mama! I get that all the time too, especially since I talk proper. I too grew up in a very diversed neighborhood, and my mom is Puerto Rican. So I never thought anything about how I talked and looked until I moved to Chicago in a predominantly black neighborhood. I have had people tell me all the time that I sound "white." ignorant does that sound? So because I talk a certain way and grew up differently I'm apparently not black enough either! LOL. You're beautiful, don't listen to that ignorance

  8. That is so annoying.. I grew up in a very small, diverse town. My best friends were black and hispanic. I never thought twice about their skin color. One of my super good black guy friends and I went to the same college, which was mostly white. We ended up moving into an apartment together, and I hated all the looks we got. Even applying for the apartment, the girl gave me dirty if she couldn't believe a white girl was moving in with a black guy. She even asked if we were partners. No, but would it matter?? He got so many accusations of being gay because he talked proper also. I hate the judgments people pass just because of your skin color, and whether or not you "talk" like your "skin color". It's ridiculous.
    You are a beautiful person! Find out who Alex really is, and be true to her!

  9. Thanks for all the support!!

    @YUMMama - I just laugh it off now too. Because the pple making those statements know nothing about this YoungFabMama :)

    @Lua-Wow by family members? Ignorance has no boundaries!!It sure does take time to find confidence and be comfortable in your own skin!

    @Cari-Thank you for visitn! Def agree that im happy that who we are is not set into stone, we have the ability to change and grow and learn. Its a beautiful thing!

  10. @Sharina-So funny how what is normal to us is foreign to other people. Ive had it..its THERE problem, not ours!

    @L-I thought twice about skin color because of others instability with it. I learned to be accepting at home, but being dropped into an all white town, was very very hard. Fav line from Kanye West, "racism is still alive, they just be concealin it" while we dont have the outward racism our parents and grandparents had, we still encounter it, and i feel like its become part of how the world works. Which is a damn shame. Im still on the journey of finding out who I am, and it feels good to be true to me for a change! Thank you for the kind words :)

  11. Loved the way you ended this: friends with people based on their character, values, and personality. Too often people (including me when I was growing up!) forget that, and that's when we feel like we're "putting on a show."

    I too, get that ALL the time from people that I grew up with since I always spoke properly and did well in school. When I went to Columbia University, I got a lot of "you speak so well for a Black girl." Huh? What does that even mean?

    So I was "not Black enough" for my friends from home OR my friends from school. Weird. But I continue to be who I am and do what makes me happy. High five, Sista!!!

  12. Great post. I believe our POTUS was characterized this way and look where he sits. In my mind I often wonder what is enough? and who sets the standards. We need to learn to embrace one another as we are instead of trying dissect the person you think we are.

  13. Love your post. One thing though: Just because you speak correct grammar doesn't mean you talk 'proper.' People used to tell me that all the time. Because I loved English, I was the sell-out. LOL. I think you are who you are. No one has the right to define you. I admire you for being in your early 20's and doing the things you do. Be you and everything else will follow. Be blessed and I love your post:)

  14. Thanks for the comment! You make a gooood point: just because you speak correct grammer doesn't mean you talk proper! I'll have to throw that at the nay-sayers the next time someone tells me I talk proper! It took me a long time to just be me, because I didnt know who me was. Finding me is not about a destination, its about the journey and I have recently been able to accept that and try to live the best life I can, and be the best be I know how. Thank You :)

  15. Thanks for posting :). I saw this post in your linkwithin and had to click on it. Why? I have a biracial baby and I have been wondering what obstacles he may face later on in life, so I like to read about people's experiences.
    On moving to "the burbs", maybe your mom thought she was giving you and our siblings a better quality of life. It's interesting hearing about it from your point of view because I bet she did not think about it from your angle.
    Something for me and my husband to keep in mind.

  16. I just got a chance to catch up on this post and I identify with you in so many ways! While I am not bi-racial, I grew up in a "black" neighborhood, but my mom had us bussed across town to a primarily Caucasian school for a better education. I grew up with predominantly white friends and I speak proper English which I always got hell for growing up (my boyfriend jokingly mocks the way I talk even now!). I was always told I was "trying to be white," but it was what I grew up around so it was what became natural to me. It wasn't until high school and especially in college where I accumulated a large group of black friends, but to this day, my group of friends is a total melting pot and I'm grateful for the fact that I've have friends of all races all my life. It not only made me an extremely open-minded and accepting person, but also afforded me a lot of experiences I wouldn't have had otherwise. My parents were young and didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up and let's just be honest, there are certain activities that just aren't considered "traditionally black," so the only reason I've ever been camping is because of my friends of other races, the first time I experienced a real beach was with friends of other races, the first time I went Christmas caroling, or to a Christmas tree farm...I could go on for days. Lol! Since moving to the South, I've met so many people who did not grow up with friends of other races and as a result weren't exposed to some of the same things I was lucky enough to be exposed to. So while I know from experience growing up, it was hard b/c all kids want to fit in, I say celebrate who you are and everything that all those experiences have made you which is clearly a smart, and beautiful woman!

    P.S. Sorry for writing an entire blog post of my own in your comments! :)

  17. Thank you for your comment @LilManandMommy – Yes, I do believe that my Mom thought she was giving me a better life, but I also feel like she moved us to the middle of nowhere to be closer to her lil boyfriend [whom I despise]. I always wonder what my life would have been had I staying in the city. I go back to my old community every now and again, and it makes me thankful that we moved. But despite the community, it was my Mother who taught me right from wrong and instilled in my kindness and respect. It starts at home.

    @Andrea – I love the long comment! Please don’t apologize!! I am also grateful of the diversity among my group of friends. I think there are great benefits to having a diverse group of friends, and we should all embrace it! Its funny that you mention moving to the South, I have family in South Carolina, went to viist them 6 years ago, and you would swear I was from another planet…or maybe it was the other way around. They were all deep dark skinned people, and me, well I stuck out like a sore thumb. My nickname instantly became “Lil Red” and people would constantly laugh at the way I talked. Looking back, I know I kinda liked the attention, but it was for the wrong reasons. Yes yes, celebrate good times come on! LOL! But honestly, let’s celebrate and create a sisterhood instead of knocking each other down!!

  18. It's so awful that we spend our childhoods trying to fit in. I know it's just a normal part of being human, but then we finally get OUT of school and realize we have NO IDEA who we are. I found that my 20s were all about figuring that out and it just keeps getting better.

    I grew up in a rich town, and we were the poor people. I didn't have the designer jeans or skis or a rich dad (I had no dad) and it was really difficult knowing I didn't belong. Guess what I did? I acted out too! Ha ha. And I did get suspended.

    People are just not thinking when they say stuff sometimes. I have a friend who said people would tell her she wasn't really black to them. Ha ha. She was like excuse me?

    Anyway thanks for sharing!!


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