So much more than just “white”

Candace,
USA

I am white. I hold ancestry from several European countries but identify strongest with my Italian side. I am proud to be third generation Italian American. I grew up knowing and loving my nonna who was born in Italy and devouring the stories of my family who fled to the United States as refugees under the Mussolini regime. I have cousins who still live there. I speak and love the Italian language. I have traditions. I have stories. I have food. My Italian last name is constantly mispronounced. My eyebrows are thick and my hair is curly. People ask to touch it, a lot. My skin is white but distinctly olive. My eyes are hazel green. I’m frequently asked “what are you?”, called exotic, and I’ve had a racial slur or two dropped about me. But wait…..those things are micro aggressions right? Nah. Turns out it’s not a micro aggression if the answer to “what are you?” is something European. But my least favorite comment of all? It’s the people who have never met me who want to erase my history and just call me “white” aka boring, bland, the oppressor, the one with no culture. White is a skin tone, and a very subjective one. Of course there’s no culture, because white isn’t a culture! We have the same rich diversity of nationalities as any other race. I am proud to support anti-racism and social equity, I’m proud to listen and amplify the voices of my BIPOC friends and neighbors. I’m proud to live in an America working so hard to stamp out institutionalized racism and celebrate diversity. And you know what? I am equally proud of my family history, because it’s a part of that diversity. I’m so much more than just “white”.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris