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Pressured to choose who I am: the issues of being multiracial 

Voice of the City

click to enlarge Madonna Parris is from the north end of Halifax, and comes from a mixed race family. As a youth she was involved in the Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE) program and currently is administrator for a local roofing company. She has five siblings.
  • Madonna Parris is from the north end of Halifax, and comes from a mixed race family. As a youth she was involved in the Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE) program and currently is administrator for a local roofing company. She has five siblings.

I’ve got an issue. It’s a personal issue. It’s a strong battle of my past, present and future. This is an issue my friends of multiracial parents will understand.

Here’s my problem...how do I feel? If you guys are like me, you’ve spent your childhood answering questions such as “Do you guys have all the same dad?” “Who’s your family?” “Why are you so light?” “You’re black?” “Can I see a picture of your dad?” “Are all of your siblings light like you?” “You don’t act black.”

My issue is I have been pressured to be a representative of a side of me I am not all comfortable with—that I have been pressured to choose who I am, not just be me. Why can’t I just represent my parents and how they raised me? “Is your hair real?”

“You should wear it curly more often.”

“I love your hair straight.”

“Can I touch it?”

Questions that come from everyone. Statements that I’m not dark enough, or that I’m “very articulate.”

“Yeah, your nose looks black.”

“You’ve got black girl lips.”

From people who tell me white people are bad.

I don’t understand. I’m almost 30 and I still get confused. I want to stand up for everyone, but I how do I stand when I see other people hate each other of the same race?

I have been pinned on both sides of the conversation. We have “black on black violence” every day because of our skin colour.

But then, news flash: I get terrified every night over the fact that my brother goes running in the dark, running from nothing but being followed for everything. Fear circulates through my thoughts. This confusion has been hard for me to support anything. In all honesty, I try to ignore it because it’s to a point where it hurts.

I was raised by two wonderful people. One is a white woman who fought a constant battle for stealing another black man. Another is a black man who fought a constant battle just for being black. They came together againt all odds and in unity to create one of the greatest gifts—life. It confuses me again that giving life has become such a stigma of “white mom and black dad.” I see them as my mom and dad—no colour, just love.

People say millennials are the future. We strive for change and for cures. We have created a world of style and difference. So why this complex? Why is it so hard to say “stop with the killing,” when all I want to say is “stop killing each other, stop hating each other and hopefully they will see us change and change themselves.”

I try to keep my mouth shut because it’s such a sensitive issue but it pulls my heart every day, knowing that this life is so full of hate to a point where you have to choose a side.

That’s my issue.

———


Voice of the City is a platform for any and all Halifax individuals to share their diverse opinions and writings. The Coast does not guarantee the accuracy of, or endorse the views of those published. Our editors reserve the right to alter submissions for clarity, length and style. Want to appear in this section? Submissions can be sent to voice@thecoast.ca.

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