Three Cultures. Two Races. No Home.

246756_10150197609363807_5075840_nKristen Ellerbe,
Richmond, VA.

As a mixed child, I have never felt at home with any culture. My mother was born in the Philippines and my father was an airman stationed there. They are wonderful parents who are absolutely in love with one another. I am one of three children, the middle child and only girl. I am mixed. I grew up in white middle class America. So where do I fit in?
Though to America’s confusion, I identify more with my Filipina roots that anything else, despite not speaking Tagalog. That is another story for another time though. My mother and her surrogate Filipino family made up of her best friends were they people I grew up around. My nearest cousins on my father’s side lived too far away and were all boys. I just could never really fit in anywhere. At the same time, I was always aware that I did not look like my Filipino friends either.

My hair isn’t kinky enough or my skin is not light enough. My speech was not black enough, or I had never actually been to the Philippines. There was no place for me.

Furthermore, I attended a white school and I was accurately aware of it. I remember one year, I had an angel costume. Right before Halloween, I told my father I couldn’t wear it. When he asked me why, I told him that I didn’t look like an angel. Angels were white and blond and pretty. And I wasn’t. Instead I had my mother make me a Pocahontas outfit, because I looked like her. I am not Indian, but that was the closest thing I could find to me. I was in elementary school. And I didn’t think I was pretty.

I felt like a dog in a shelter where people walk up and cock there head. Then they say. “What is it?”

I had three cultures, two races, and no identity.

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