Friday, April 21, 2017

Growing Up Mixed

Personal Reflection
by Sarah Harris '17

People always made it clear that I was different; being the only white girl in a black family can make you feel that way. For a long time, I always felt like I didn’t fit in because I was always too white or not enough black. My siblings never made me feel different, but my mother told me that I would go further because of my complexion. That statement made me angry because I wanted to be like my family. I wanted to fit in and be the same. Passing was something I always understood. People would often mistake my mother for a nanny, but she would correct them, screaming loud and proud that she was my mother.

As I grew up, I came into my own and was proud to be black. I reminded people a lot, and it made me feel like I was part of some community. But maybe it was because I was reassuring it for myself. People say mixed children go through identity issues, which I guess was true in my case, but I also found that I was able to adapt easier to any environment. I felt connected to everything and everyone, and I empathized with people a lot more.

When I got to college, I felt the need to advocate, supporting the black community and empowering others. Black Lives Matter was a great campaign that meant a lot to me. During the presidential election especially, I wanted my voice and the voice of others to be heard. I felt a need to protect and serve my community. Now, I don’t really look at black or white, but instead focus on trying to empower and help others' voices to be heard.

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