I have fought so hard not to fall into a very typical and expected mold. Both my Mother and Father of are of mixed race; although both of them identify as African American. I take so much pride in the fact that I am African American, but I hate the way pop culture and the media portray “blackness.”
Growing up in Los Angeles was a privilege because I was able to develop relationships with a myriad of different people. However, even Los Angeles, one of the most diversified cities in the world, is constructed of many different racial pockets; little bubbles that are situated together, yet do not exactly mesh. Take Brentwood for example, the demographics here are overwhelmingly Caucasian. Areas south of the 10 freeway, often have a large African American majority. Slightly northeast of that you find a collection of people that is primarily Latino.
I try to involve myself in activities that defy the stereotype of the “gangsta” African American who is often affiliated with drugs, gangs and violence. I think it is a shame that the media promotes and constantly portrays this image to the public, because it simply deepens existing stereotypes.
So far in college, I have joined a sorority, taken part in the Student Alumni Association, worked at Bruin Woods (having been the only Black person on staff), and gotten involved in a multiracial relationship, all while maintaining a 3.7 GPA.
Although my skin is dark, my features are not typically “Black” and when I tell people I am African American, they question me. I hate feeling like I have to defend why I am Black or explain my family’s background. When I tell people that both of my parents are half Black, they often reply with something like “oh, so you’re not full Black… I knew it!” It makes me wonder if they question the authenticity of my racial identity simply because of the friends and associations I have chosen to involve myself with. Race is simply an outward projection of physical characteristics, and I hate being judged by the color of my skin.
The number of times I have been called “white chocolate” or “Oreo” (for being black on the outside and white on the inside) are numerous and frankly very disappointing. People have difficulty accepting me because I don’t fall into that typical mold that the media has so fervently portrayed. But I am so happy with who I am and what I stand for.
Why do I do what I do? Because I like to defy stereotypes.