More than “just a Black girl”

Jolie Anne Chevalier,
San Jose, CA.

This is me at eight years old back in 1979, the daughter of an African-American/Seminole Indian mother, and a Irish-French-American father. Growing up, I was faced with contradictions in a world of opposites; although I was multiracial my mother told me I was Black, and to identify as such due to the “one-drop rule”. My father was silent on the matter. I was mistaken as Puerto Rican by my paternal grandfather, and was called “tanned” by some of my White classmates. Grammar school was an alienating time for me; all of my classmates had parents of the same race, except for me. I was deemed to dark to really fit in with the White kids and too light to fit in with the Black kids. So I ended up making friends with two friends who looked past my background; one was White and the other Guyanese/Indian. In high school, most of my closest friends were Latinas since I seemed to look more like them, and once I entered college, I found liberation in open-minded friends who came from all around the country and world. During this time, in my search of my identity, I became somewhat militant, immersing myself into African American culture, and speaking disparaging about White people in general. As I matured out of that phase, I decided to eschew my mother’s influences; that it was okay to listen to “White” aka pop/rock music, that speaking properly did not equate with “speaking White” and that I was free to embrace all branches of my family tree despite my skin tone. I was overjoyed to check the “Other” box on forms once they were finally implemented rather than just “Black”, and even happier that nowadays, I am free to check all races that apply to me. I am proud of my heritage, and will never make allowances or explanations for it ever again. When asked of my background, I simply answer “Triracial” or “multiracial”.


What is your 6-Word Story?
Related Posts
What is the real difference here?
What is the real difference here?
Asian Americans are sterotyped beyond belief
Asian Americans are sterotyped beyond belief
CubanAmerican Gringi is not acceptable nickname.
CubanAmerican Gringi is not acceptable nickname.

Comments are closed.