My Identity (Crisis)

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This last week-and-a-half, I’ve been pondering the mystery that is Rachel Dolezal, the President of the Spokane-Washington NAACP chapter, a woman who presented herself to be African-American but who was born very much caucasian. I read the news articles and thought, “That was stupid. She could have just been a white ‘sympathizer’ and still become the chapter president. Attention whore.” Thursday morning, I woke up to the tragic news of the Charleston terrorist attack on Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. For me, these two stories converged in a very unsettling, but ultimately cathartic way. Let me explain.

I am Afro-Peruvian. By birth. But I don’t speak much Spanish at all. I am also Canadian. By adoption. My parents are white. My adoptive parents. This week, I learned I’m transracial. Who knew? I live in North Carolina with my white husband and our white-but-tans-really-well daughter. A year ago, I found myself grappling with my own identity for the sake of my daughter; today, I’m doing it for myself.

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