My husband calls me future girl.

Jennifer McCadney
Bethesda, MD

Growing up as a kid with a black dad and white mom in the late 70s and early 80s — in what was then a non-diverse industrial town — I struggled a lot with racism and my own racial identity. I felt strangely uncomfortable in my own skin and fought, on both instinct and principle, against the senseless labels I felt society trying to impose. When I left my hometown for college in Washington, D.C., which is a sort of multicultural mecca, things dramatically changed. I felt liberated. I blended in, as opposed to standing out. I was just one of many shades of brown. When I traveled overseas, some assumed I was either a local or from the local indigenous population, as the case may be. People seemed to gravitate toward and were curious about my racial ambiguity, but not in a racist way. It took time, but I eventually became comfortable being me, and for the first time, feel distinct pride in being a person of mixed-race. Cab drivers commonly ask me where I am from, later explaining that I looked like someone from their country – whether it be India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Palestine, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Brazil, or the Dominican Republic, to name a few. “I’m from Pittsburgh,” is my usual response. My husband, who is Jewish, tells me I should say I’m from the future. But I think perhaps our kids will have a better chance pulling that off.


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