In answer to the Day 1 Question “When Did You First Realize You Were Black (or X)?”
When I realized I was black
My family immigrated from East Africa to the US when I was 15 years old. A year prior I had just learned English in Kenya, having grown up speaking French. So I spoke like the queen of England and used weird “unamerican” words like trousers, and pronounced others like ‘wah-Ther” instead of “warrer”. I was soon enrolled in public school and on my first day I realized that school was going to be interesting. I had put on my best outfit (pink pants and a multicolored flower shirt from the 1980s - offcourse unbeknownst to me this was not the current fashion). I was made fun of all day though I couldn’t understand the lingo so I didn’t bother me. Then black students in my class started calling me the ‘dark skinned’ chick. A few weeks later I was totally bored in the class having been educated in a system where I was a couple of levels higher and I was put in the honor roll system. There I totally stood out as I was the only black kid in the classes and I was always number one. So I replaced the white kids who were used to being the top students and they hated me :). My only other class where I had black kids was the dance class and the black girls never wanted me to be on their team as I was ‘dark skinned”. So yeah I never knew I was dark skinned until my high school days!