Brown Woman From All White Family

Genevieve Schneider,
Redlands, CA.

Lots to say and no one to listen or appreciate it. One niece in her 40s and whose DNA shows she’s 95% white, (blond w/ light green eyes),did actually listen without dismissing my thoughts. I have 4 white grandparents, two white parents, two white siblings; all with light to very light skinned with hazel or blue eyes and European features. I couldn’t look more Latin American or Native American. I have been reminded of this my whole life and sometimes on a daily basis. I am a 14 generation American with 415 plus years of heritage in this country. Had my DNA done as I too was suspicious of foul play. Turns out my brother is my whole brother and our DNAs are virtually identical. I just went after different genomes.

My mother told me I was a throwback. True, but she also told me it was my fathers “fault” I was dark. She felt sorry for me, as if I were deformed. My father said it was my mothers “fault” I was dark and was ashamed of me. They both avoided being seen with me, more so, my father. Know they were born in 1894 and 1911, an even much more racist world. I forgive them. What is “white privilege?” It’s not having to go through what I’ve experienced: clerks saying they can’t understand me even though I’m speaking English with no accent, people looking at me as if I’m doing something wrong, following me through stores to make sure I don’t steal, asking how my food stamps are doing,(never used them),a man I was standing next to in a store, saying something smells around here, after I walked away, women checking for their purses when I enter a home, my brother and sister being treated better than I all the time, asked by my third grade teacher to leave the (all white) classroom to wash the dirt off my arms, the “dirt” being browner scars and freckles under my brown skin, (embarrassed? You betcha?), people over explaining things as if I were stupid, people standing around and mimicking Spanish language words for my benefit. This is a very small part of my over six decades of experience, but you get the point.

I’m grateful God made me this way, as I know more than most how white and non white people feel. I know most of you can’t help but notice different races. I notice. This is what we can do. Behave as if all are the same. Never ask about natural differences. Never notice. I feel it’s alright to ask about one who is dressed differently, as that is a choice. Now if a minority brings it up,
then for me, all bets are off, as I am a very curious type and can’t resist the opportunity to ask about them. Let’s treat all the same,( with respect), even if they show us they are different. This is inclusive behavior which does not keep some people on the outside who merely look different.

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