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Reply to "What is your first race-based memory?"

My first racist based experience was in second grade. The other girls in my class called me half breed one day, so I went home and asked my mother what they meant. Now, I don't have the hair my mother has, but these kids had seen my mother and my siblings and obviously were curious. In addition, my mother would occassionally send me to school with two braids. My mother being 30% Native American, truly held strong traits.

When she explained all this to me, I suppose I should have felt relieved but I didn't. I felt weird because suddenly I didn't know where I belonged. All the time I thought I was just another black kid, my peers saw me differently. I didn't look like my mother and siblings, exactly "who am I". This is also the title of one of my poems, but for a different reason.

I addressed this issue again with my mother as a teenager, because it still haunted me. She said maybe she should have been more detailed with me earlier, but she didn't think at 7 I would get it. So we had a long talk. At that moment, I felt so proud to be her daughter, so proud of her and my grandparents. I felt so proud to be a woman of many colors, many cultures. I have a wealth of heritage to share with my children and grandbabies.
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