I have never known a life without some form of racial tension. From reading about slavery in school and suddenly all eyes being on me because I’m the only black kid in the class, to peaceful holiday dinners suddenly ambushed by a politically charged statement, it has always been there. I have always felt it, but I myself have never experienced any form of blatant racism.
I have definitely been slighted with micro-aggressions like: “You must like chicken because you’re black” or “you’re basically a white girl with tan skin because you don’t act black.” I never knew how to respond to this as a kid. I never actually saw anything wrong with it until I was in high school, and suddenly those statements had more malice than they used to.
I have never experienced blatant racism because I’m not obviously black. I am a mixed girl with light skin. My black features and heritage have been watered down and beaten out through centuries of homogenization.
I am unapologetically black, but I do not feel fully white. I have no connection to the white side of my family — I don’t even know any fully white people who I am even related to. I was raised to be proud of who I am, but in our country’s current climate, I don’t want to — nor do I feel the need to — fully identify with my whiteness.
I fight alongside my black brothers and sisters against the racism that we have been facing for centuries, but I know that my lighter skin gives me an upper hand in our whitewashed society. As a light-skin, I know I will not face the same struggles that my darker relatives do, and I try to use this in my fight for equal rights, but my opinions still have less weight than those of white men and women.
I find it crazy that as a sophomore in college, I have the highest education in my immediate family, while my many white peers have parents and grandparents with multiple degrees under their belts. I find it even crazier that my grandma — who not only raised seven kids as a single parent but is also the strongest and smartest person I know — only has a high school education because college wasn’t an option for her as a black girl in America during the ‘50s.
Hopefully, in time, the racial tensions in our country will ease and I will no longer feel the need to shirk my whiteness. But until then, politically, socially and personally, I am a black woman before I am a mixed woman.
Hannah Pridemore is a sophomore studying strategic communications at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to reach the College Democrats? Send them a tweet @OUCollegeDems.