Guessing my race isn’t a game

Sheila Islam,
Oakland, CA.

You do not win a prize if you get it right.

People hardly ever guess it right and thats not exactly the problem. The problem is, that when people do this, I feel objectified. I feel like my physical appearance is being ripped from me and being judged. I am so many other things besides my race. Don’t get me wrong. I love who I am and where my family is from, but that does not completely define me. I strongly identify with my racial make up mostly because people make me do that; because I receive different treatment because of my skin color and this different treatment makes me identify with it more strongly.

I just have a huge problem with race. If I say where my family is from people expect me to be an expert on those countries, countries I have either never been to or have spent random summer vacations at during my childhood. People then get disappointed in me if I am not an expert in all things Bangladeshi or Mexican. There is no winning. I just constantly feel othered. I feel like society is constantly pointing at me and asking “why?” I am exhausted of having to answer people’s questions. It is insulting. I was born in the United States. I am a U.S. citizen. I am a person. Let me exist without your obnoxious, seemingly innocent questions that make me feel like i’m less of person.


Tweets by Michele Norris