Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Bi-Racial Life

Guest Entry by C. Pfeiffer

One of our readers asked in the questions section of a previous post if Lost Daughters had any thoughts about being bi-racial.  One of our Facebook fans, Janice Flores, graciously offered to share her experiences.

I’ve always known I was adopted. I’ve always known I was bi-racial.

My birth mother is white, my birth father is black.

I was adopted by white parents in 1963, my sister in 1965 and she is bi-racial like me.

Being biracial was never an issue for me growing up.

I was raised in a very diverse neighborhood and never even knew about racism until High school.

My best friend across the street was Mexican, my next door neighbors were bi-racial like me, my babysitter was Asian and the 1st boy I kissed was black.

I always thought I would grow up and marry Michael Jackson, without a doubt!
WhenI was 9 my parents sent me to an all black, all girls summer camp.

I’m not sure what the purpose was, it’s not like the focus of the camp was black history or knowledge.

We didn’t make dashikis or learn about slavery or the Underground Railroad for Pete’s sake.

We made candles and sang generic camp songs.

Besides,the black girls never considered me black, but they accepted me just the same.
I never really thought about it much when I was younger. I ALWAYS wondered why I was given up. Why my mother didn’t love me but race didn’t come into the picture until high school and my first job when my Mom told me to check the“White” and “Black” boxes on the ethnicity questions.

I did what she said without question. My 1st boss assumed I had made amistake and erased it.

I felt stupid and ashamed. Was it NOT OK to be mixed?

I married young and when I was pregnant with my 1st child my Mom told me I could have a “black baby.”

I didn’t sleep for 9 months knowing my husband and his family would not accept me r a grandchild that was black.  My son is olive skinned like me, but I always told him his grandfather was black.  I always told him the truth.

After my 1st divorce I dated only black men. Never felt so much hate in my life.

“Why do you have to take OUR men?”  “Leave OUR men alone”

I was called a “Wannabe," a “Poser” someone who was taking something I had no right to take. A “Cracker” a “Wigger” and much, much, worse.

If I dared tell these women that I was black too they would laugh, hit, make fun of or downright spit on me.

But never once was I accepted.

During this time I was a CNA at a nursing home. It was then that I learned the true extent of racism and hatred.

Some of the cutest and nicest little old ladies were absolutely terrified of the“colored” girls. It shocked me to hear their stories, to see how close I was to true segregation.  I worked there for 5 years, won some of these ladies over and then told them Itoo was “colored.”  I don’t think they ever believed me.

If I hear one more time that I “don’t look black” I may go on a rampage!

For years I would defend myself, defend my roots, and defend my heritage. It was aloosing battle. I was defending something I knew very little about.

I never understood why so many people were interested in my heritage but I stopped telling people that I was mixed.

I just gave the standard “I don’t know I’m adopted” speech.

Since then I have been Mexican, Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, Indian and Hawaiian, But never black.

I have a grandchild now that knows her great grandfather is black. But what does that mean to her? To me? I can’t teach her things I know nothing of, traditions, history, and my place in that world.

I am not accepted by whites or blacks. Never have been, probably never will be and I’ve learned to be OK with that.

The people that do love me love me for who I am all parts of me. And if that group is small, so be it.

I still check the “African American” and “Caucasian” boxes on all forms I fill out, just like my Mom told me to do.

But the fire has gone out of me, I’m older now, there are more important battles for me. I am one of the lucky few, I am an Illinois adoptee who was able to apply for my OBC (original birth certificate).

I’m still waiting, still hoping that one day soon my questions will be answered and I will really know where I came from. Who MY people are.

Until then, I am biracial, I am an adoptee, I am a survivor, and I am proud!

Photo credit: Vllado