Anne Ward Masterson
Growing up Black, White and Cherokee in NH in the 1960’s and 70’s made for some painful tensions. In Kindergarten other children would see my mother and tell me she couldn’t be my mother. People would ask me ( and really, still do…) What are you? On the days I am patient I explain my heritage. On the days I am cranky I have been know to exclaim “Human!” The biggest tension is straddling multiple cultures. In college other black students insisted that I only claim my African American heritage. One went so far to explain that before he met me, he thought all interracial marriages should be dissolved and the children “Gotten rid of.” White students would exclaim ” but you don’t look/act black!” The best thing and the hardest thing has been being strong enough, loving enough, patient enough to be that bridge between different cultures offering a mirror for people to reflect on their assumptions AND for me to reflect on my own.