I know who you see when they look at me. But that’s not who I am. Why should I have to explain myself to strangers for them only to say I’m lying.
I’ve constructed a life for myself in which the question of “who are you” doesn’t come up. It’s easier to let people make assumptions about me that to disabuse them of their misconceptions; to tell them the truth.
I know I am a Black woman, even if that is not who you see. According to colorism I’m “light, bright and nearly white”. I’m a living example that race is a social construct.
Now, when sitting on the sidelines is not an option, I want other Black people to see me as Black. Black people hate me for my privilege: to pass, to go unnoticed. What double edge sword. Did I benefit from the privilege of passing as white? My Dad would say, that was the point. He didn’t look white, but he wanted to be accepted everywhere, as he was told he could be. It was the early 1970s after all.