Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Black Experience

Dear Ben Carson, 

Shame on you. 

And I say shame on you on behalf of the mixed children being raised in interracial families. I didn't realize that my parents had to give me "the black experience" in order to identify with my heritage. I didn't realize I needed to be raised to fit into a race box. I thought the goal was to just be a good human, or at the very least a functioning adult. 

My whole life I've heard that I'm 'too white','too black', 'not black enough' and even Korean (that's a true story). But now I know based on your experience of "real racism," I should just brush all of that off, because I'm not all black. 

I just didn't realize... 

Full Article: Obama was 'raised white'

Monday, March 30, 2015

The time I was afraid

I've been thinking a lot lately about my home state of Indiana. Recent events have led to the trending of #BoycottIndiana, which breaks my heart. Having many fond childhood memories, I'd like to say that every moment and every person was warm and inclusive. It wasn't always the case, but I had tons of happy memories to offset the few instances of unpleasantness. 

Some of my favorite adventures were had riding the bus downtown to the public library. Nearly everyday in the summers, I'd head down to the library with some neighborhood friends. It was a big milestone, to be riding the bus. I felt like I was on my way to being a grown-up.

One seemingly typical evening, my parents told me that I couldn't go downtown the next day. I'd usually object with some sort of tween-tantrum. But it didn't feel like a punishment. Instead, I sensed the urgency in their command to stay close to home.. 

You see, that next day there was a Klan rally at the downtown courthouse. 

The young version of myself felt frightened. Nightmares of burning crosses kept me housebound all day. While the majority of their concern was probably about the large crowds and congestion downtown, I couldn't help feeling like people might throw rocks at me. Or taunt me for being some sort of an abomination. Or worse.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Non-Beach Vacation

Maybe it's the slow emergence of spring weather, the March Madness or the college kids outside my window clearly enjoying their thirsty Thursday. Actually, never mind. It's definitely because I've been craving my own vacation lately, that I started to reminisce about past travels. 

"It looks like you just got back from the beach!"

I often heard this after vacations. Despite rarely even going to a sunshine destination. A slap in the face, right? 
There's actually a 70% chance that my destination did not even require sunscreen. Therefore leaving no chance that I gained a noticeable tan. While I was away, did you forget that I'm ethnic? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A woman's right to tan

I would like to preface this with the statement that I truly do enjoy my gym. The staff is friendly and "my" machine is open 99% of the time. And I'm sure I'll enjoy the parking lot again when all these people give up their resolutions to become super models. 
But once again, I have been hassled about my tanning. After telling the front desk clerk that I'd like to tan, he laughs. Sure it wasn't a full on cackle, but it was a mouth wide open, teeth-baring type of laughter. Then he asks why I tan. Before I can answer he continues with a, "you're as dark as I am." 
At this point, I hope my jaw didn't literally drop. I can't be sure; it was one of those delayed moments. Maybe it only lasted a second, but it felt like a full minute. I mean- this guy is black. Sure it's in like a caramel macchiato kind of way but he's certainly significantly darker than myself. 
Then this got me thinking; maybe I'm darker than I think I am. OR maybe he's lighter than he thinks he is. I wanted to reach my arm across the counter to compare skin tones. But I'm not smooth enough to pull off that kind of maneuver. 

Maybe next time...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Fairly Tanned

In preparation of my roommate's wedding, I decided to put in some time to bronze my skin. Now I've been tanning at my gym for quite some time. This isn't a regular occurrence, but I'm familiar with the system; I come into the gym. I tell the person behind the counter that I'd like to tan. They look up my information and boom! I'm tanning. 
This day was not so ordinary. After telling the lady that I'd like to tan, she pulls out my tanning information and pauses. She starts to take quick glances between me and the waiver that I usually initial before stepping into the booth. "They started you this high? They shouldn't have done that!" You're probably wondering what that means. Well there's a box in the corner of the form that says Skin Type. My form said brown. This having not been a problem in the other dozen and one times I'd been tanning, I was completely shocked.  
She went on to say how whoever did this could get in trouble, even asking me who "CB" was (These were the initials of the worker). Ummmm, I don't know? There was no appeasing this lady. I admit to tuning out while the rant continued, feeling rather powerless in this situation. I'm snapped back into reality when she says, "you should have been started at Fair Skin." 

Woah! Fair? Come on...

[A little background: Fair is the lowest setting. Think of that vampire chick: Kristen Whatsherface]

Jumping to the defense of the previous worker, I explained that I was mixed. And by no means would anyone consider my skin to be naturally fair. Although apprehensive, she finally let me tan! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Binder of Women

Ever wonder which celebrity would play you in a movie? Feeling inspired by my numerous alleged doppelgangers, I've decided to catalog them. Additionally this would prove valuable information given the slim possibility that my life story is ever made into a major motion picture. So let's take a look! 

Page 1: My first doppelganger experience was American Idol contestant, Kimberley Locke. As a teenager, I was near offended at the thought of looking like an adult. 
Page 2: I won't forget about the parade of summer campers that also that I looked like one of the Cheetah Girls. I never did get clarification regarding which Cheetah Girl; so I guess I'll let you decide. 

Page 3: Ironically during my college years, this High School Musical star ruled my doppelganger charts. Even now, I'll get the occasional Vanessa Hudgens reference.

Page 4: The newest doppelganger to my binder is Alice Braga. This is according to the friendly checker at Trader Joe's. 

So there it is! My very own Binder of Women, err... Doppelgangers. Would Romney approve?  

If this were Twitter, I'd include #likeromney

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Barbecue

So there was this barbecue. Actually I didn't find out about it until after the event. That's right; this girl was not invited. I couldn't figure out why. 
It made no sense, especially because that annoying girl (let's call her Sara) was invited. My brain was nearing exhaustion, having churned through all the scenarios in which I could have accidentally offended my friend. I mean, come on. We don't even like Sara! [No offense, Sara. But you were a snob and what do you have against sharing your markers? Rude.] 

Finally, I just had to ask the question... Why wasn't I invited? 

"Sorry. I couldn't invite you because my grandparents are racist."

And that's when I became a vegetarian.

... Just Kidding. There were plenty of meat eating years after that.