On Race. On Being Me. #POC. (persons of color)
I confess, I’m developing a reactive racial bias, but it’s creating balance, to correct an imbalance within. Though it may seem like all biases create imbalance, like everything else, there’s context to be considered. Read on…
I’m starting to feel more comfortable around POC (see image). In general, I experience POC as more humble, approachable, and down to earth. This conscious observation is very new to me. I’m growing into my own skin. I’m
accepting celebrating who I am, from the outside, in.
I didn’t grow up with a positive association towards POC modeled to me. I believe society and my parents (albeit subconsciously) didn’t, hold POC in a consciously positive, or at least overtly positive, light. This is not because my parents are immoral or cruel. They, like everyone else, self included, were conditioned by their culture. And when you are privileged with race, class, gender, or whatever – it’s easy to be ignorantly ignorant. It takes more effort to actually become as my 14 yr old daughters says – “woke”. In other words, have no idea that you’re ignorant unless you intentionally and humbly look, with trusted accountability.
Embracing my POC status feels very empowering and self-respecting, and healing. This isn’t a grandiose form of empowerment which degrades others in order to feel good. It’s bringing about a healing leveling playing field, from within.
Would this evolving bias offend some people? Perhaps. Like who? -I’m suspecting those who have subconscious white fragility. A telltale sign of this if if you’re white, and pointing that fact out causes offense, and yet believe they are not impacted much by their racial status. This kind of mindset makes it hard to hear someone like me, who has struggled with racial identity. This racial discord as a trans-racial adoptee, is something I always felt but not on a conscious level. I steered clear from this area, until recently.
Without any language, I’ve experienced dissonance around my racial identity and didn’t have people I could open up to about this. I’ve found that race is controversial, unless (broadly speaking) you’re in an echo-chamber of those who are just like you. This was a very complacent but dull part of my identity. I isolated about this because it did make people noticeably uncomfortable and defensive. I grew
accustomed numb to it be means of “adaption” or “assimilation” and therefore this watered a shame-based way of existing.
I am starting to really feel proud of being a POC (person of color). And…
it’s about damn time.
I grew up wishing (secretly) soooo intensely, that I had curly or at least, blonde hair, blue eyes, and was of course, white. I (subconsciously) loathed the undeniable fact that I was not white. I didn’t have natural blonde hair or blue eyes. This shame was complicitly supported by means of something powerful because it’s invisible – silence.
Unaware that this “thing” called “internalized racism” existed, I was profoundly but ignorantly plagued by it. I developed ideas, beliefs, and behaviors that supported or colluded with the notion that “white is normal”, or at least was oblivious to this illogical, surreptitious, and pervasive, white supremacy/”normalcy” lens. Whatever was considered “white” in the culture, was “standard”, meaning: “right”, “best”, or “normal”. Anything in the culture or about me that wasn’t considered in-line with this white standard was considered, deviant or aberrant, simply because it was different. Different from what? – whiteness.
So, I confess. I have this bias. I am starting to gravitate towards POC. I hope I’m not too awkward by my noticing this more. I know, it’s weird, because I am one, too. A POC. But, I have not embraced, let alone cherished it. I’ve maybe accepted or “tolerated” my racial identity at most.
I’m inspired by POC who are proud to be POC. Who notice the differences, in a POSITIVE and FAVORABLE light, not just a “tolerable” one and can break this silence of complicit white supremacy.
I (like my white parents) have been brainwashed by white supremacy, except they’ve subconsciously had advantages from this, I haven’t. Aka. white privilege. Sorry, I know that’s a buzz word for some white people. How dare I draw attention to your racial identity! Well, I dare. POC are used to this, being referred to by their race by people of a different (the majority) race, all the damn time. “This Asian girl” “This black guy” “This Native woman” “That Hispanic kid”. Rarely do you hear white people saying “this white man”.
I’m now, in a phase of conscious deconstruction and deprogramming in many aspects of my life, that I took for granted. As a KAD (Korean Adoptee) of white parents I have transracial, white privilege. Yeah, it’s complicated. Race IS. This is probably why I didn’t question my race for a long time, because it was the water I swam in and nobody in my immediate circles growing up talked openly about it either. This started to shift in adolescents, but I didn’t have adults I could talk to about my cognitive dissonance being transracial.
In adulthood, reflective deconstruction and reconstruction is taking place spiritually, socially, politically, philosophically, and emotionally – I am sometimes a hot mess driven by my inner maverick. It’s a lifelong process of becoming “woke”. For me, deprogramming from mainstream culture or at least the predominant subculture I grew up that didn’t acknowledge my differences within my social environment (white, suburban, Evangelical culture) is an ongoing process of discovery and self-affirmation, in the awoken beautiful face of…
This feels, freeing. It frees up space inside for me to occupy – me, and love it. I’m liking my racial identity and affinity towards POC, that does not white out, me.