If you could have been born a white person, or if you could become white today would you? Why? Or why not?
No. I like my culture.
Hell to the naw.
Nope. I like who I am and part of who I am is being black.
I’m sort of peachishy-pink. Are you asking if I’d like to be an albino?
I should give some context.
My answer is no too. But I wonder for my 2 kids…you see I’m mixed, black and white but my kids could pass. They are too little now to even understand race, much less how it relates to them. And I’m already very deliberate about instilling pride in their heritage; both the side that is descended from enslaved Africans and the side that is descended from a Mayflower passenger.
But will they embrace it? Or will they choose the easy road and just be white? I wonder. Anyway that is the context for my question here.
Whut? What kind of question is this, anyway?
Yeah, there’ve been times where it’s been tough not being white. Where being white could possibly have gotten me better things.
But I come from a culture (Indian) that’s thousands of years old…there’s always new stuff to discover. And I live in a culture (American) that’s completely different, and yet mine, too.
I have occasionally wished I was white but never actually wanted to be white, if that makes any sense. And I still don’t.
Sometimes I do. I’m proud to be asian but sometimes I just want to disappear amongst the crowd.
Ah, I understand what you’re saying. Well, as an example, 90 % of the Indian kids I grew up with chose to be “white” in a certain way. They almost universally married into their own race, but neither part of the couple speaks the language at all. They sometimes still go to temple but have no idea what any of it means. They are part of the Indian commnuity somewhat, but hang out with white people way more. They don’t know the significance of their holidays, if they celebrate them at all. They show little to no interest in learning about it either.
I went the other way. I’m in a LTR with a fine Chinese boy but speak my language, read it and write it. I celebrate my own holidays. I mostly hang out with anybody at all, but there’s a few Indians on that list. I still know what my holidays mean and make an effort to learn if I can.
I am, at least in my community, a rare person…I really try to tread a fine line between the two cultures. Will your kids become part of the melting pot or be radishes in the salad bowl? You can’t say, but in the end they will make their own choices. You seem to be doing fine, with instilling pride, but they’ll find their own groups to belong to, and there’s no telling what they might ultimately decide. The only thing I know is it may surprise you!
I don’t think most people will be able to honestly answer that question. Of course most will say no without ever having lived on “the other side” so to speak. You’d need to have experienced both worlds before you could render a judgement like that.
Personally I like being white but I would jump at the chance to be black for a while if only to experience things from another perspective. I’d bet it would change people’s attitudes if we could all do that once.
Isn’t that pretty judgmental Aanamika? I mean, you claim (and have claimed multiple times) that you don’t even hang out with other Indian people so why stand on the outskirts and claim that marrying into your own culture isn’t good enough to be truly Indian? Or how can you really speak to what their religion does or doesn’t mean to them if you don’t hang out with them or haven’t bothered in a while? I mean, I don’t write Marathi and I have an Indian boyfriend but I would be die laughing if someone claimed I wasn’t Indian enough. What about my sister’s husband? He’s a third generation Indian-is he too watered down?
I know the kids you are talking about and they annoy me too but I wouldn’t claim they’re not Indian because of the manner in which they behave. I’d label them quite Indian, just annoying. But if it pleases you to think that you’re a better desi than them, that’s your choice.
Nonono, I’m sorry if I came off as so judgemental. I didn’t mean to, perhaps some of my old stereotypes are showing through. I apologize, I really do.
I was just meaning to say, that’s their choice, and this is mine…and when I was speaking, I had some select people in mind, from my own neighborhood, whom I know fit these criteria…they worship only on the surface, and do different things at home.
I really didn’t mean to sound negative. Just goes to show that sometimes you don’t write the way you mean, or more comes out than you intend. I should have said something like,
“That’s their way of retaining their culture, and this is mine.”
Apologies all around.
I just don’t know. Sounds like a cop-out, but I just don’t have enough data to even process a question like that… I am who I am. If I were not me, who would I be? What if, by becoming white, I lose my compassion for those who are treated unjustly (note: I am, of course, not stating that the desire for justice is attached to one’s melanin level, only that my experiences in life would be radically different than the ones I have being black). Who knows? I can see advantages, and disadvantages… I can’t add it all up.
No I would not change. It would seem a betrayal of my ancestors to even consider it.
I’ve tried to envision how a “white” monstro would be like, and I just can’t do it. And I’m saying this as a someone who defies most of the stereotypes of “black girl” that are out there.
I can’t explain why, really. I guess I think my essence–what makes me me–is intricately connected to my blackness. If someone were to turn me into a white person, I don’t think I’d be “me” anymore. I’m not the greatest person in the world, but I don’t mind being me.
I have had moments when I wish I could be like everyone else around me. And that sometimes means wishing I was white and/or male. But I don’t think I would like to start my life over as a white guy.
Self-hatred, though, is something I’ve had to deal with. And I think most black people would be fooling themselves if they say they’ve never experienced “Dang, why do I have to be black?!” moments. Childhood is full of these moments. As a little girl, I remember telling myself that my ambiguous racial appearance meant I wasn’t black, so I didn’t have to darken that particular bubble on the test form (the teacher, checking over our work, saw the blank and made me bubble it in). I remember not correcting a friend when she informed another student I was mixed (I’m not, not in the sense she meant) because I didn’t want to be black at that particular moment. I remember not wanting to wear a dress from Kenya that my mother had picked out for me to wear at my school’s “International Day”, not because I didn’t want to wear a dress but because it was an African dress. And I didn’t want to associate with Africa or blackness. I don’t recall any times when I thought to myself, “Gee, I wanna be white!” But there were times when I didn’t want to be black, if that makes any kind of sense.
Your kids may or may not go through this. And if they do, I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it. My mother is as pro-black as you can get without being straight-up racist (and sometimes she crosses that line) and I still experienced those moments. But I’m a proud black woman and will get up in anyone’s face if they claimed otherwise.
Hell, no. I can’t be me without being Black. Fundamentally I would be different. And I like who I am.
I actually think that in key life instances, being a Black male has been an advantage for me. It helped me stand out in situations where it was difficult to stand out (re: academia). Hard to get the attention of a prof, or stay in his/her mind if you’re one of 80 white women in a class… if you’re one of five Black people, they know when you’re there, and remember what you say. Luckily I tended to be there and say semi-logical things.
I grew up in the UK and dealt with a lot of name calling, idle threats from British yobs… never got in a scrap though, and I actually thought these fools were laughably weak. I didn’t fear them as much as I just got tired of their monkey-assed foolishness.
In America, though, I encountered racists who looked like they could really cause me damage, and I also came to realize that being Black and male in some contexts could cost you your life. Luckily I have been blessed with a calm demeanor. I remember being pulled over in Fort Worth at 2 a.m. after dropping my sister off at DFW with one of my frat brothers. He was not a calm brother, and damn near got us arrested for popping off to the cop. I actually thought this cop might find an excuse to bust a cap in us. That kind of shit sucks pretty bad, and it bugs me that despite my education, career, etc. one situation like that can fuck your life up (case in point - a friend of mine “lost” six months because he was annoyed with a cop, ended being arrested, freaked out, needed counseling, left school, etc.).
But I still wouldn’t want to be white. Can’t imagine it!
I would also add that the perception that they will be ridiculed for not retaining their culture enough actually can keep someone away from that culture.
My favorite student/foster little-brother is a first-generation Indian-American. For all that his first language is Gujrati, he’s never had a whole lot of contact with Indians–his family is weird and pretty dysfunctional, and they don’t really tell him much about anything. Furthermore, there are almost no Asians at our school (lots of everything else–it’s just how the zoing works out), let alone Indians. He’s a great kid/young man, but he’s got the pride of an 18 year old, and he’s absolutly convinced that every Indian person he meets is looking down on him for not being a “real” Indian, and he’s ashamed of that. So he avoids Indian people like the plauge. He’s going off to college in the fall, and I’ve asked him if he would be interested in getting involved in the inevitable Indian Student Association. First he says to me “I don’t think they’ll be a lot of Indian people at any school I go to”, (that’s how isolated he is) and, after I picked myself up off the floor laughing, he went on to say that he was sure he’d be roundly rejected as too American, so what was the point? I am pretty sure this is not the case (I’ve known plenty of Indian students, and the degree of “Americanization” was all over the spectrum), but he won’t believe me.
as many others in the thread have said, being black is part of who I am, and I don’t know who or what I would be if I weren’t. It’s analagous to (but not the same as) being a woman.
But, I did grow up in an area that was almost entirely not Black (between 1-2%). I was “the Black girl” (occasionally it was my sister, but it was a nearly absolute identifier). That made me stick out and when I was younger, I frequently wanted to be just like everybody else. And while, of course, we’re all individuals, and I had a lot of qualities and characteristics that also made me unique, being Black was instantly noticed and identified and set me apart at first glance and couldn’t blend in. And I really hated being different - which basically meant not wanting to be Black (or having everyone else be like me - but the concept of mostly Black environment was entirely foreign to me).
But then, I got older.
I still hate my hair.
Anaamika:If you’re speaking about people you know it’s probably unwise to use markers like “90% of Indian kids.” It only means the rest of the board uses you as a citation to say something generalised and stupid about Indian culture because of your personal experience. I don’t bother correcting this stuff because it’s not worth it to me but you should know that when you use phrases like “90%” you are setting the standard for what other people here will write about. Sorry about retaining my culture in such an unenlightened manner, though.
To answer the OP: no, I do not want to be white because I’m not white. I don’t know any other life than having eccentric Indian parents and ethnic drama and being dragged all over the world and worshipping idols and my dad not having gotten dressed for the last thirteen years of his life and the like. If you’re born into crazy, all you know is crazy so you have no basis for what the other side is like. Also self-hatred is so lame.
I don’t care either way. We’re all gonna end up dead soon enough, so what difference does it make?