“Stick out on both sides….safe?”


The reason I chose the first 6 words “Stick out on both sides…safe?” I have family in Minnesota, where my sisters and I stick out by being brown. My family in Minnesota are all white in small towns.

I have been looked at differently: one time on a trip with my grandma from Minnesota to South Dakota we stopped at a restaurant to use the restroom, my grandma dropped me off first while she parked the car. I asked to use the restroom, I was told I could not, at first my thought was “oh I need to buy something to use the facility” but when my grandma came in the treatment and tone was different, they told her it is in the back and let her use the restroom. I was stunned and speechless, my grandma told me “come on it’s in the back Belindy” and I just followed her, after we just left and went to visit her cousin. I kept my mouth shut…debating on telling my grandma. I never told her until recently. I have been stared at many times when visiting my family, kids staring at me like I am an alien they’ve never seen before, feeling people’s eyes while eating lunch with my grandpa, I thought nothing of it. But I can’t help wonder…What are their thoughts? I am thankful my family never treated me differently. They mostly get excited to tell people I am their granddaughter, niece, or cousin when they do notice the stares or they’ll introduce me right away.

The second 6 words I choose are “love me or looks American rich” I have family in a country that has low economic growth and when I visited I was nervous if they would like me. I noticed I was treated differently in the sense like I was getting the best treatment over those who live there. Seeing my cousins sleeping on the floor made me feel weird, I decided to sleep on the floor too. I got a huge talking to and was told I was important, but I just wanted to be seen as a regular cousin not an American. When I went back to America I was so excited that I could send out two huge boxes of stuff to my family, they were happy to receive it but then I got requests that my cousin was into a hobby and wanted a bunch of stuff… I won’t lie, I am blessed to live in America but I don’t have a lot of money to just spend or give away. I have a budget to follow bills but because of certain situations, I wonder if I’m loved for being a family member or the country I was born in? Who am I safe with to speak to? Without a mask? without having a guard up and wondering…am I loved for me? Do you actually want to know me or something to brag about?


Tweets by Michele Norris