I’m Pavla Pletkova. And I’m black.

13176_10100523263562992_6748221724506443155_nPavla Pletkova,
VA.

Looking at my picture you could never tell. Listening to me speak you could never tell. What I’ve been told is I look like a “regular light skinned black girl”. But little do they know I’m far from regular.

As far as I know, I have never met another Czech-Ghanaian person, well, except for my younger brother. I was born in the Czech and am fluent. Growing up I never realized the dynamics of my unique situation.

As I got older, I found out that having a “white” name had some advantages: I get called back for interviews, apparently more than I “should”. I have been told more than once in an interview (queue the HR generalists), “oh,….nice to meet you. I was expecting a 6 foot white European girl”. Welp, you got a 5’9″ one!

But I also found out that not looking the part, was sometimes a disadvantage: I was once told by a classmate during my undergraduate years, that the only reason one of several big companies was recruiting me was because I was black and a female.

So even though i am not one ounce African-American, because of my looks, I get treated like a black female in America gets treated, and because of that I sympathize with the black experience in America.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • Zuni

    You’re very lucky,because an European name DOES work wonders! I was born in the United States to a citizen Black mother and White European father. My mother named me,but when my father left the United States back to Argentina with 5 year old me in tow,he had my foreign passport issued under a decidedly European name. That name is what I continue to be known as in Argentina till this very day,15 years later. He did me a huge favor. Argentina is even more White than the United States, 98% pure European and often boasts “There are no Black people in Argentina.” My father didn’t think I would have a good life in the United States as the child of a Black mother automatically viewed as Black also and KNEW very well I would suffer in Argentina with that strike against me,so gave me a White identity and told me I’d better not say a word about Mamá. If someone happened to question then leave it at her nationality not race. He said,”Your mother is your mother,dark skin and all,and that can’t be changed, BUT that doesn’t mean you also have to suffer because of her ”

    • Akua ova

      that is wise of him but also very sad. Its a shame we have to deal with things this way. But i do consider myself fortunate,…but still have always worked extra hard to ensure the fortune stayed up!

  • David Neal

    I write about sports at Florida International University, where Finda Mansare was a 6-0 forward. Mansare looked like she came straight out of my family, most of us Black Americans of lighter skin tone with reddish hair (a great grandmother on my mother’s side was full Irish). But she was from Hungary. I asked her about it casually as she passed my desk one day. She glowed as she talked about the romance between her Hungarian mother and father from Kenya, I think it was. She laughed about people on campus assuming she was African-American. She seemed comfortable in her own skin, secure in who she was. I thought her fortunate for that and having the kind of parents of whom she was clearly proud.

    • Akua ova

      how interesting! I reached out to her on FB! I have yet to meet another Czecho-ghanaian and I imagine he has yet to meet another Kenya-Hungarian. But yes, your description of her, is quite my own sentiments,….i thought it was funny and i would generally dismiss it as such, as my experience has been fun and unique.

 

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