What am I?

by Courtney
(Philadelphia, PA)

I constantly get asked, "What are you?" and I can never just let this question roll off my shoulder. I want to answer, "Human" but that may be perceived as rude so I don't. I grew up in a very racist Caucasian family which has caused much confusion in my life. I never met my father and was raised by my mother's side. My race was constantly changing as a child. One year I was Mexican, the next Filipino and the list went on and on, but they never mentioned the African race. So, this led me to believe they knew that I was half African and were embarrassed by this. After years of wondering myself, I took a DNA test that confirmed my suspicions. I can understand why people find my looks confusing, because I look Hispanic or East Asian. I just don't understand why people put so much emphasis on the outer appearance of a person, because we are all the same species. I don't really know the African part of me, because I was never exposed to any African-American people. As an adult, I find that I have trouble trying to forge relationships with my African-American co-workers. I don't know why, but it's disappointing to know that I will never know this other side of myself. Does anyone else have this issue?

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