Brown Skin, White Mind

Interracial has seemed to become synonmous with “white” for many of my friends. The music that I like, the books I read, and even the clothes I wear are considered “white.” I thought that I would escape this idea of being “white washed” in college, but it has seemed to follow me even into my adult years.

At first, the comments bothered me. “Oh Veronica, you’re so white”, and “You like that? That’s some white girl sh*t” were comments that I would hear daily. Sometimes, they were said in a joking manner but other times, there was a note of hostility or anger in the comment. It was almost like the thought of me doing anything, liking anything, or saying anything “white” was a sin and against everything that was synonymous with “being black.”

In the beginning, when confronted with these comments, I would try to alter my behavior. When told that I spoke “white”, I would start using more vernacular and even included the “n” word in many of my conversations. I altered my music choices, inserting more hip hop and rap into my playlist. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with some of the hip hop and rap music but those aren’t my preferred genres. However, the more I tried to change to satisfy other’s people’s perception of me, the more dissatisfied I became with myself. The people who had known and liked the “old Veronica”, the one who rocked out to Maroon 5 and spoke properly, began to distance themselves from me. Everyday, I was at constant war with myself; between who I was and who I thought I should be. It didn’t feel right. And as a result, I became very unhappy.

If you have read this far, don’t be discouraged because this story does have a happy ending. After months of pretending to be someone I wasn’t, I felt like I had to talk to someone about it. I had a rather lengthy conversation with a friend and I came away knowing what I had to do. I just had to be myself.

I know it’s such a cliche and easier said than done, but I did it. Naturally, the people who had liked the “blacker” Veronica pushed away from me. The ones who tried to hang around asked me why I was acting “different” and “brand new” all of a sudden. I just told them that this was how I had always been; they had tried to change me but it was not successful.

Being different, especially being interracial, on a black college campus can be extremely difficult. At times, you might be ridiculed for being too “white” or “not black enough”, but do not let it discourage you. The things you like, the books you read, and the way you speak are not limited to a race. The people who say those things are only ridiculing and insulting themselves. When you assign certain characteristics, like speaking properly, to a race, then you become the ignorant one. It is far past time that we stopped labeling things “black” and “white”. The next time someone catches me listening to Maroon 5 , I don’t want them to say, “That’s so white.” I just want them to say, “That’s so Veronica.”

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