Why Everything In My Life Is About Race

Family Selfie

Recently someone I thought was a friend told me, “Why must you make everything about race?”

Then I found myself in a social situation sharing stories about my family and my blog. Some folks were curious about my interracial family. Others became uncomfortable when I spoke about my parents’ disapproval of marrying a black man or how strangers question if I’m the mother of my children.

Their discomfort made me worry about how vocal I am in discussing race and culture. The more I thought about that situation, the more I questioned myself.

Do I talk about race too much? Am I sharing too much about myself? Do I really make everything about race? Why I can’t I just talk about “normal” things?

Then I became angry. First at myself for feeling this way. Even angrier because I let other people’s discomfort about race doubt myself.

I am mad because I should never, ever have to question myself about race and culture and why I talk about it. Furious that I should censor myself so I won’t make others uncomfortable.

Why do I talk and write about race so much?

I talk and write about race and culture because I am living it.

I cannot escape my race or my culture. I cannot peel off this skin and become a different person.

My Asian skin affects how others view me: as a stranger in my own country. My children’s skin affects how others perceive my relationship to them. My husband’s skin affects how some family members pretend I no longer exist.

The food I cook for my family and the stories I share are a convergence of our family’s races and cultures. I’m an Asian American woman who grew up in a very conservative southern state. I married a southern black man. Our biracial children will never be able to escape the question “What are you?”

I refuse to hide the things that make me who I am. I will not pretend that I have never experienced racism from my own culture and from others. I will not pretend that I don’t have a list of states I will never visit because of the colors of my family’s skin. I will not pretend that I don’t worry every time my black husband comes home late from work.

It’s not my responsibility to make others feel comfortable about race and culture. I’m tired of seeing news of how people of color are hurt, arrested, killed for just being alive. For walking. For going to school. For driving a car. For existing.

I will not fucking pretend that my race doesn’t affect my daily decisions.

We cannot change if we do not become uncomfortable. One of the most difficult parts of making positive change is pushing through discomfort.

I will not silence my stories.

2 Comments

  1. Bicultural Mama November 18, 2015
  2. Babes about Town November 18, 2015