I have been meaning to write about this topic for some time because it’s really personal to me. Like Rachel Dolezal, I also have had serious identity crises over the years and despite being 100% white of Scandinavian origin, I lived as a black person for a few years in my early twenties.
For those wondering how a blue-eyed blonde white woman be thought of as black, well, let me tell you a story about race, ethnicity and social markers. There are things people look for in other people to place them in a familiar category and unfortunately no matter what your skin color is, if you pick certain things about the African American culture and apply them to yourself, well, people will think you’re just a light skinned black person.
I’m not writing this post to be demeaning or cause controversy or be racist or any of the sort, I could see how that could happen and I can assure you, while all humans have stereotypes and racist and xenophobic attitudes and ideas, this simply is my story and my thoughts and no harm is intended.
I was in college in Wisconsin and got my hair braided with brown extensions. I always had long acrylic nails and wore “Black” clothing brands. I went tanning a lot and that’s about it. My racial identity was changed.
I don’t know exactly why I did it. I didn’t grow around black people or any foreign people for that matter. I don’t know why I picked that “race” but somehow I started identifying with the African American culture in high school and that’s it.
I also didn’t ever feel like I belonged. I remember someone asking my mom once if I’d been adopted. I didn’t have the values everyone around me had. I felt like an outside most of my life. I kept imagining I had been adopted. My favorite story to tel people was that when I was being born, God made a mistake and sent my soul to the wrong person, and I got theirs, and right now somewhere in Central Africa there is a girl who loves skiing and moose meat.
I think the abuse and bullying and traumas like that made me change my identity. I went through a period of hating white people. I hated what white people around the world had done to other people and because I went through trauma I could identify with people who had been traumatized. I think.
I have a mixed race child now but it’s not because I hate white people. I just kind of got used to dating Caribbean people as I was really into the culture in London, and I haven’t really dated white people in a long time.
So I get what Rachel had done. I totally do. I also change my name legally and took an easy African middle name. (She recently changed her name). Rachel’s story is my story. I get her. It’s not faking it’s much deeper than that.
I think I’m comfortable with my racial identity now. I used to think in racial terms, like, I didn’t wanna have white friends and I couldn’t watch a white movie and so on, but I’m cool now. I’m over racialization and I do honestly see people as people, but I get that everyone is a product of their culture and their socialization.
I don’t know what I think about my baby. To me he’s not black and he’s not white, he’s Finnish and he’s American and he’s Jamaican and he’s just his own person. I hope that one day we can get rid of racism on all sides and just see people as people and see cultures and see tradition and see countries and nations, but not judge based on color of the skin.