My paternal grandmother came to the U.S. to escape the Armenian Genocide. My maternal grandfather jumped aboard a U.S. submarine during World War II because the Japanese Army put a price on his head. When they raised my parents, they wanted more than anything for their children to assimilate into America and so did not teach their children their first languages. I grew up a racial mystery, looking neither Armenian nor Filipina, but certainly not “American” either. In 2000, I moved to Senegal in West Africa. Whereas in the U.S. I am a woman of color, in Senegal I became a “white” woman. I understand the complexities and the arbitrary construction of race because I live it in my body every day. I blog more about this as Araña Mama.
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