“If Haitians don’t think I’m Haitian and American black people don’t think I’m really black, then
what am I,” I asked my friend who looked back at me with a completely blank face.
I was in the midst of completing the analysis section of my freshman thesis for my UW class
when for the first time ever, I realized I had no idea who I was. Up until that point of my paper, I
was analyzing the significance of the word black among the Haitian culture versus the American
black culture. When it came time to provide a three-page reflection on the 18-page analysis I
had just written, I was beyond lost for words. As I tried searching for the answer through my
friend’s destitute stare, I remember beginning to feel the ache from my throat swelling up as I
tried to fight back the tears.
...continue reading "A Haitian-American Finding Herself"
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and lived in the same house my whole life. I was born to an Italian mother, and a black and Apache Native American father. Until studying abroad I had never defined myself as American. I call myself multi-racial and in the past referred to myself as bi-racial. When my parents got divorced my black and Apache family disowned me, thus I consider myself to be culturally Italian. However, I am visibly a person of color.
...continue reading "the puzzle of identity"
I was born in Mumbai, India and lived in Lagos, Nigeria and Houston, Texas before my family and I settled in a small town in New Jersey—all before my fourth birthday. For as long as I can remember, I have been balancing myself between Indian and American, as if the parts that make me up are as distinct and separate as the countries on both sides of the world.
For years, growing up in a fairly homogeneous small town caused me to consider my background as a source of discomfort. When topics such as Indian weddings or outfits came up, my identity served as a source of pride; but for the most part, being an Indian-American was something I was ashamed about, something I wished away. And it wasn't until I got to GW that I stopped feeling like the weird little Indian girl and starting first accepting and then valuing the many parts of my identity. ...continue reading "Defining self"