Too White to be Black and too Black to be White?

First of all, I want to say that I'm majority African-American, and both of my parents as well. But for some reason, I've always had this issue of being too white or too black and it's made my social life suffer completely. When I was in middle school in Texas, I was one of 2 blacks in my class and the rest were Hispanic or white. The Hispanics hung out with the blacks and whites hung out amongst themselves. But I was always considered too white to hang out with the blacks. At the time I listened to rock music and did some skating too (this was before it became popular in rap culture), and I didn't contain an ebonics or southern style accent. So I tried hanging with the whites, and all they did was call me a poser and constantly made me 'prove myself', which they still didn't buy after I showed them my skateboard and did a couple of tricks.

And this continued on to Junior high where I was basically barred from sitting with the blacks, which by that time made up a majority of my school. They constantly made fun of my accent, saying that I talked white. I eventually tried caving in and convinced my mum and dad to get me some basketball shoes, and that shut them up for a month before they patronised me again. I eventually found a group of students from other countries, mainly Europe, but a guy from Iran as well, and we became very good friends. Even when I had to change schools within the district I found some more international type students who I became very tight with. But then I moved to the Northwest. I thought that it was going to be a change, but I apparently moved to the wrong part of town. I eventually lived in a conservative town near Tacoma. It was majority white as expected, but some blacks who were amongst their own and Hispanics amongst their own. But I did notice something odd, a lot of whites were acting part of the black stereotype, with baggy jeans and listening to gangster rap. I was known as the 'whitest black guy'. Of course, here, there was no significant international clique, so I hung out with a few exchange students from Russia and Eastern Europe now and then that I still talk to over Facebook.

I'm attending university at the moment, but nothing seems to have changed, except that there are even fewer blacks, and now I'm completely isolated now. It's so weird because all I get are stares, and when I do eventually get approached by someone, they will eventually note how very surprised they are at my academic major and record, and my hobbies. I swear everyone here expects me to be part of some stereotype. I'm in a single room but I have neighbours in a suite style room, and I over hear them saying, he's too quiet, he's always studying, is he gay or something. Well no sh*te, I tried talking to you, but you made it seem like you had other plans every time I asked you about your day. -.-


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Most Helpful Girl

  • So, I'm actually a black rock-a-billy/metal head girl. I've been told my whole life by both sides that I speak too white yadda yadda. Fortunately, in middle school I found about 3 other goth/skater/rocker black kids who became my best friends. Then I went to an all girls school. All the black girls sat together but they would talk to me and be cool. The white people (goths/theater kids/ etc) that I huge out acccepted me but, like you mentioned, you always had to prove yourself.

    The Afropunk community really helped me out during my awkward time. I'm in university now and I've met other black people like me. I hope you find a group like I have here soon. It's nice affirming your weirdness with people who are like you. I have piercings, tattoos, play the guitar, play videogames, I like pentagrams and spikes and wear black lipstick. I don't give a care what anyone thinks of me. I know I'm not a poser. I know I'm not trying to be white or abide by such standards.

    I'm just myself. It will get better ^_^.

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What Girls Said 8

  • I'm not black but I can absolutely relate to this. Over the years I've found that befriending other doesn't-quite-fit-in-anywhere types is easiest, they are mostly nonjudgmental and make great lifetime friends. I know it can get lonely and I hope your situation gets better. It's a bit cliche but joining interest clubs and making an effort to get to know people there can make a big difference, I guess because your interests are what is bringing you together and not the color of your skin. Trying to please everyone is just draining, you might as well be yourself, right?

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  • Unwelcome stares, stereotyping, and belittling can be forgiven when you're a junior high or high school student since you can attribute it to being young and dumb. But in university? Really?

    That's completely awful. I moved around a lot when I was younger and experienced something similar. In junior high especially, I got outed by people of my ethnicity who grew up in the States for dressing and acting different, yet I had no problems with people of my ethnicity who grew up elsewhere. Weird, huh? I think that's why you get along so well with international students - they probably don't have many preconceived ideas of what black guys should act like. Rather, they just see someone who is smart, interesting, and fun.

    I wish all people were like that. But it's not like that, so just embrace who you are and forget the haters.

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  • I think you would have better luck in a diverse area with more black demographics.not just poor lower income that you wouldn't fit in with, but more middle class suburb blacks. You have to find people like you so you have someone to relate too

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  • Ignore your neighbours. They sound too inhibited.

    Find friends somewhere else.

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  • im black myself and wow that sucks. I hate that people are like that

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  • There is no suc thing you are who you are.

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  • Or making me sad :(

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  • Black Texans are hot!

    Well its not surprise blacks are the minority unless you go to a HBCU

    Hope you can feel comfortable in your own skin because you don't have to prove anything to anyone.. I

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What Guys Said 2

  • Oh man...

    I am just REALLY looking forward to the day when all this ridiculous, stupid sh*t just stops!

    It is so totally unnecessary... so draining of one's energies... so... STUPID.

    I have always been 100% color blind. I just don't get people who act like it matters.

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  • Dude all I can say is its just pathetic seriously even today. I know it totally sucks. I feel disgusted I'll be honest with you. Acting white acting black, wth is that?

    I would say time to stop seeking approval from anyone. You be exactly what you want to be or you person you feel you are. You keep with your hobbies and interests, and try connecting with people of similar interests. Hopefully by college people have grown the hell up. You try live your life to the fullest, be happy with yourself. After all what only matters is you, not black or white.

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