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November 4, 2020

Why Don’t I Want To Identify As White?

Part of me is.

But part of me isn’t.

And what does it mean, to be white? To not be?

I feel like we talk about identity as this complex thing. A social construction. But sometimes I feel as if, when it comes to race, we don’t want to talk about complexity anymore. We can be straight or bi or questioning, we can be man or woman or trans, we can be non-binary, but we have to be white, black, brown, yellow, red, or mixed.

Do we get to choose when we see complexity, and when we see simplicity?

If it’s about how we identify, what feels real and true for us, then why can I not say that I am a black man?

Or is it more about our culture? Where we came from? My ancestors may not have been slaves, and that may mean I can never be black in this country.

Or is race our skin colour. Or is it our experiences. Or is it in our dna.

Is it our history?

Is it the oppression we come to face, for no purpose, cause, or condition other than others’ misplaced fears and hopes?

Is it racism? Is it patriarchy? Is it bigotry?

Is it trauma?

I often ask myself who I am. What I am.

I still don’t have an answer.

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