A few days ago I approached a black woman in the cafeteria. I was emptying my plate as I had finished my meal and was on my way out. She was the main chef and I could hear her speaking to one of the other men in Creole. I was ecstatic because hearing my birth language and the language my mother spoke to me while in thhe womb was literally music to my ears. In my broken birth tongue I said shyly “O, ou pale creole?” She looked at me oddly as if my question should have been clearer and it should be obvious that she speaks creole. I was embarrassed and walked away. -Me
I get so excited when I see people who mirror me. Not just physically but on the same intellectual level. But more than anything right now, it has been so important for me to be around other Haitians and their physicality.
You see, when a Haitian woman looks at me, she thinks that I am 100% part of her. There is a connection we make, whether it is through eye contact or a simple nod. Some kind of gesture is made.
And lately, even as an adult, I have experienced even more excitement when surrounded by “my people”.
And yet they are not my people because I was not raised to think, act, or be like them. I was raised to be white. I was raised to think that THEY were the “other” and that somehow, I was better.
I get so excited when I see another black person around. I feel that I have learned to code switch but it was never taught to me as a child. I never fit in….I didn’t fit in with my white family and I didn’t fit in with people of color.
“We don’t see color” was the narcissistic verbal abuse and violence I heard constantly as a child. The problem was…..THEY did….the people out there, society, the rest of the world, me….I see Color, we see color. They see color. Because seeing color means you take the time to listen to the hurt.
Seeing color means you take the time to ask “did they hurt you?” or “did they say something to you?”.
Seeing color means you see hurt and pain and you engage. You become part of something bigger than yourself.
Isn’t it funny how most of the people who say “i don’t see color” are those who are never affected by the effects of being a person of color?
I have yet to hear a black person say “oh, I don’t see race or color. I don’t see that my boss is white and I am black. “. NEVER have I heard that come out of a black person’s mouth. Do you know why?
Because we don’t lie to ourselves. From the beginning we have been real with ourselves. And if by chance we had to lie, it was for survival. We had to survive from day one. As white masters began raping black women and making mixed babies, we had to sit back and lie to ourselves, tell ourselves we like the lighter color better….and sometimes, that lie becomes the truth because you create within yourself a pathology that essentially protects you. You learn to say “mixed kids…..it is better…..it is better for them, because now they won’t have to work outside picking cotton. It is better for them, because now they don’t have to have the coarse unmanageable hair. It is better because the Masters won’t treat them as bad as the rest. It is better because being mixed means being prettier, looking richer and possibly passing in the eyes of the white people.”
Mixed kids during the age of slavery is like the scapegoat in a narcissistic home. They are not AS BAD as the black sheep but still not good enough to be fully part of the family.
So seeing color means you see the soul. It means you look past the physical into what was once the unknown….
You see the soul.
But being raised in a family that does not “see color” means they don’t see my culture, my religion, my language, my roots, my heritage, my suffering. Not seeing color means they don’t see me….they only see the me they created.
And today, when I see others who choose to see me, I have a natural desire to cling to them. But I can’t, they are out of my reach…..sorta too good for me because in my fabricated mind (the one molded by white supremacy and white Jesus) my white education tells me they are not as educated but my soul longs for a soulmate of my hue, culture, heritage. We are meant to be part of each other.
But adoption does that. It breaks apart not just an individual, but an entire culture and reorders the lineage.
I look the part. But the minute I open my mouth, I am disqualified from the game. My voice is the opposite of a my poker face. If I could only go through life just looking the part. If I could only not open my mouth and be among my people.
Oh what a life I would live. Another form of silence maybe? Maybe a silence that has more depth.
Because in a way I would be lying, not just to them, but to myself. I’m not really part of them because of adoption, and I’m not really part of me because of adoption.
When I am around my people I want more. I want to know more of where I come from. But it is not their job to teach me. Just like it is not my job to teach white people about blackness.
I am an Oreo….except the white is keeping me from being connected to my people.