The Armored Coconut

fantasticmrfox

It’s embarrassing to admit how long it took me to realize I’m a person of color. I wasn’t two, or 12, or even 30 years old. It was more like the month my Obamacare kicked in.

I’ve pondered what it means to be a woman of color for about ten years; wondered how to embody and live with the answers I eventually found for five; and have challenged myself to be a public ally for two years, maybe three. I am now 40.

Looking back at all the years I stayed locked in a bright white box with someone else’s name on it, I feel and have felt incredibly foolish. So naive. Passed out like a brown Sleeping Beauty. Deserving of an international medal for grand self-denial at every level of human development… from the U.N. or whoever, not really sure what else they do. Guess I’ll ask someone at the awards ceremony.

Growing up, there were no discussions that I recall with my white parents about race. I had no teachers of color who took me under their protective brown wings to show me the way, if there even was one. There’s no “awakening” montage of me at college, reading Toni Morrison in the quad, leading meaningful late-night discussions about identity and race. I had no boyfriends of color, no girlfriends of color, or any color at all. The overall message I received was: It didn’t matter what was on the outside – it was really your insides that counted.

Not your actual insides – kids didn’t wield power on the playground by having great organs or a sturdier heartbeat than Kevin – but the invisible insides that no one can see because they’re too busy judging your face, body, clothing, and lunchbox. Other little girls I knew who heard the same message were disabled, or ugly, or unpopular, or not very smart, so I equated skin color along the same lines: something seen but preferably unseen, some undesirable trait to make up for.

Lacking something society has deemed as worthy of love since the Beginning of Time? Like light skin or commercial good looks or skinny arms or money? Don’t worry, kid, there’s something even better and it’s called: INNER BEAUTY. Not every girl has it — just the special ones, like you!

“Inner beauty” was my first wrestling match with phony self-preservation. It’s the first time I remember lying to make an adult feel better (“You believe me, right? You’re better than all those other girls because of what’s in here!” *jabs my sternum* I nodded yes). It was the go-to excuse for moms who’d lived through the exact same thing: hierarchical, rigged popularity contests that paved the road to a lifetime of self-doubt and loathing. They knew it would build character or strength from adversity. They knew what didn’t kill us, made us stronger — though that didn’t necessarily apply to nine-year olds whose frontal lobes hadn’t fully connected yet. They knew these trials would turn into stories we’d share with real friends over wine later on in life. And hey, the moms weren’t wrong. But still we were encouraged to believe, against all evidence to the contrary, that we could override the many-layered monster of popularity – and even society itself – to impress our peers with things like: Kindness. Determination. Chutzpah. Spirit.

The unspoken agreement to focus within and never on the outside was like terrible utopian math where we could all be the same, sort of. It was mass colorblindness for the good of the herd. The absence of color – the absence of acknowledging my color – felt safe, even though I lived in a big brown suit I actively ignored. Denying my own color, even hating it sometimes, meant acceptance and relief: nothing uncomfortable, zero conflict, absolutely nothing to see here. Look how nicely I blend in, nothing special! I’m just like you.

This is how I ended up a white-identifying brown girl with no connection to her outsides; a dormant person of color inside a blind Trojan Horse. This wasn’t anyone’s fault – though I will continue to blame 9/11 – it’s just the way my life rolled out. What I know about my childhood is this: I truly loved my white family, white town, white friends, and typical white life – plus all the trappings of white privilege and its comfortable, protective bubble. Going out into the world and discovering how it actually saw me was a whole other animal.

My parents raised me with the belief that I could be anything I wanted in life, but what I really wanted to be was literary heroine, Anne of Green Gables. How I longed for the wholesome, adopted farm life of accident-prone Anne Shirley. I wanted her alabaster skin and carrot red hair, the slim, freckled nose, even the puffy muslin sleeves. I loved all of her spunky mishaps and un-relatable lessons of yore, like How to Ruin a Cake with Salt, How to Sell the Wrong Cow or, my favorite, How to Get Your 10-Year Old Bestie Hella Drunk On Accident.

Turns out I don’t have porcelain skin or Titian hair or a very pretty nose, nor the ability to change the molecular structure of my body like Mystique, so the people I call “my parents” were monumentally wrong. I could not be Anne of Green Gables, not even a terrible parody of her. Maybe if they’d said I could be anything I wanted in the customer service industry, I wouldn’t have set my hopes on becoming a fictional white girl from Canada.

Other girls I desperately wanted to be: Mallory Keaton, Punky Brewster, Clarissa who told us everything, and Nancy Drew; adorable white girls with a certain kind of sass, plus – in Nancy’s case – a sky blue convertible and no real curfew. These girls represented freedom to be whoever you wanted, as long as you had your own show. I also wanted to be Shannon Whatsherface in the seventh grade: blond hair, blue eyes, good grades, sunny demeanor; a girl who went on to work with children and marry the hot guy from our high school. I was dying to be any of the girls who played the love interest of a Cory – Haim or even Feldman – because of course they were my boyfriend ideals.  I wanted to be Cher in Clueless, or even Tai, but not Dionne; I wanted to be Jennifer Capriati, not Venus Williams. And I cringe to admit that I wanted to be the whitest, blandest Cosby kid – yes, SONDRA, married to a black man named Elvin, who just seemed like a nerdy white guy in disguise. The rest of the Cosby kids seemed like they were actually black, and I just couldn’t see myself in them.

Somehow, though, I saw myself in the most earnest Canadian to ever fictionally live. Anne of The Greenest Gable and I had a few traits in common – mostly negative, like a fiery temper and a flair for the dramatic – but beyond being adopted, nothing else. I even taped up my nose for a time in the hopes it might turn into a cute little appendage instead of some kind of aboriginal honker (aka my first real lesson in futility), but it wasn’t meant to be. Looking back, as an adult, the real point was: I wanted to be anyone but myself.

That seems like a terribly sad thing to say, but how could I want to be me? I had no idea what that might look like or how to go about doing it. In all of my little girl daydreams, I was a gorgeous white princess; in all of my teen girl fantasies, I had Blake Lively hair and cerulean blue eyes that sparkled. When I looked in the mirror, I saw all the things I could never hope to be, and I hated myself for that. Fantasy and Reality were not friends in my world. The only examples of personhood I had growing up were white ones: in my family, school, work, literature, television, movies. The people of color in my life consisted of a handful of humans, like a baby Smurf’s hand: a couple of kids in my high school (literally two), some Mexican landscapers around town, The Cosby kids, The Klump’s, Oprah Winfrey, ALF, and Maria from Sesame Street. All I wanted to do was blend, but where I’m from, that’s like asking a fully-lit firecracker to please be a tepid glass of water. My whole life has been me thinking that I’m super incognito, when I’m actually the painted elephant in the room, whispering, “So what are we all staring at?”

I think we can all agree that life is hard no matter what the circumstances. It’s wondrous in so many ways but can also be a pile of rancid awful. No one goes through life without challenges, though some were born with certain privileges – but even the privileged ones can still get shitsauce all over their free-range golden geese. Some days, it is extremely hard for me to walk out the door as a woman; as a woman of color; as a woman of color who identifies as white; as a fat woman of color who identifies as white; as a fat, insolvent woman of color who identifies as white; as a fat, insolvent woman of color in an interracial marriage who identifies as white; as a fat, insolvent woman of color in an interracial marriage that identifies as white who’s rocking a kidney disease and never saw The Godfather; and so on. It’s hard going out into the world with so many perceived negatives attached to my brain. My pep talks used to start with “Don’t” and end with “do anything at all.”

Now I try walking out the door – or fine, lumbering through an archway – as a proud woman of color who identifies as human at least 70 percent of the time. The remaining 30 percent is mostly jokes; five percent of those jokes are puns. Blame my dad for that.

Just recently, my mother asked my forgiveness for any unknown harm she may have caused me growing up in regards to our differing skin colors. She thought the people back then who judged her for having a brown baby were, and I quote, “fucking stupid” — but that was their problem, not hers. She thought all a child really needed was love, and they gave that to me in droves. But what she acknowledged, and what was so important for me to hear, was that we didn’t talk about race because she didn’t know how. She always knew when something off happened in school – from third grade, being told I couldn’t play with a group of kids “because Brownies have cooties,” to ninth grade when I was cornered by a group of skinheads and called the N-word, over and over, to the teacher who vouched to another that I was not a thief because “she’s the whitest brown kid I know” – but I never gave her any details because that would call attention to something we’d decided to politely ignore. For a first-time talk about race with my mom, at 40 years old, it was a solid, essential step in fully embracing who I am, or, shedding who I’m never going to be.

I’LL MISS YOUR SUN-DRENCHED HAIR, BLAKE LIVELY.

In a world where labeling is becoming more fluid – who cares what you are, where you came from, who you’re dating, what plumbing you have or don’t have, you choose your identity now – all I ever wanted was to check an easy box and get claimed by my group. Buy the t-shirt, march in our parade, get invited to a secret Facebook group called “Hey, You’re One of Us!” whatever that “us” might be. Like many others, I’ve been surrounded by people my whole life but never felt like I belonged. Denying huge parts of yourself for many years can do that to a person.

The first therapist I ever had used that hokey but on-point onion analogy – where you’re an onion and therapy helps you peel back the layers until – SURPRISE! – underneath is just another fucking onion. It’s the asshole M.C. Escher of onions, this complicated, unpeelable onion named You. But that buried onion within knows how to love itself or has a feelings journal or something, so it’s worth the pain of flaying your skin, Game of Thrones-style. Waking up has been a lot like that experience for me, but instead of an onion, it was more like an armored coconut — the most ironic visual here, since my friends used to call me a coconut in college: brown on the outside, white on the inside. Instead of peeling back the layers, I busted that coconut wide open with a fucking sledgehammer, and all of a sudden, there I was. A little brown me with enormous feet – journal in one hand, cake in the other – waiting patiently for her day in the sun.

The joke was on her, though, since we live in Seattle and it was raining.

Tagged , , , , , ,

71 thoughts on “The Armored Coconut

  1. […] like it’s her job. She’s also kind of hilarious. So, we think you’ll have fun. Here’s her post on identity and race that got picked up by WordPress Discover. Here’s her blog, The Hamazon. And here she is on […]

    Like

  2. I AM. TO BE. says:

    I can easily identify with the trying to fit in part. That’s like what my whole life was like, until I began to understand who I am and what my purpose is. This is a good read though.

    Like

  3. fitzcarl says:

    Coconuts are awesome!!!???

    Like

  4. brgj says:

    Beautiful said. You might like my article as well
    Mixed race
    Can you imagine having to pretend that you’re adopted because your white mom can’t acknowledge you being her daughter because of the color of your …
    ancestor dna test,biracial,interracial couple,June Cross
    http://mysiteofthestory.com/2016/09/07/283/

    Like

  5. jasminesundefinedsoul says:

    This post really resonated with me and my life experiences as a “mixed girl”. It’s like being a puzzle piece that looks like it might fit in multiple places in the puzzle, but you can never quite fit or find the place that’s “designated” for you. The only times when this didn’t apply is when I was in the army and once I discovered my new found relationship with God as a Christian. In the Army you’re all recruits, you’re all scum trying to reach the same goal. And as a Christian we’re all sinners striving to be better, to be more like Christ. It’s nice to feel not alone on this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. totallytales says:

    This is such an inspiring article… Glad to have read this. Have seen and experienced this many a time…Every book is almost always judged by its cover, and how much ever everyone denies it, this continues to happen in almost all parts world.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Amazing. Incredibly well written, and you have a beautiful way of sharing your story in a way that helps explore a topic that’s very close to me personally.

    Personal identity has never been a very clear or obvious thing for me to talk about (born in Nigeria, raised in Australia from the age of 1, a somewhat strict Muslim family in a somewhat liberal white society) – so it’s nice to read that I’m not the only one that didn’t have it worked out straight away.

    Do you have your own blog or anything?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m mixed, with a Mexican father and a white mother. My childhood was pretty decent, except for those all too frequent times when the kids in my neighborhood, full Mexican all of them, would pick on me for being too small, too skinny and most especially too light-skinned.

    I had to spend a lot of time proving my worth to them, seeking their approval and being tortured for it. Why? Because they were a**holes and children. Because I, as a child, valued their opinions, never mind they really weren’t worth it.

    It took a long time to realize that their opinions of me didn’t matter. To this day, I seldom ever give more than a casual thought to my bullies. In the long run, they were a blip.

    All that being said, I firmly believe that there is no such thing as race. We’re all human beings; some just happen to have darker skin than others. In either case, skin color denotes neither intelligence nor one’s own worth. All it means is that some people will take longer to sunburn than others. No more, no less.

    Race, as a concept, is nothing more than a social construct meant to justify the continued oppression of a given group of people. It’s nothing more than a flimsy excuse, based on faulty science and bastardized Scripture. To date, too many people have been harmed by this, and I believe it needs to stop.

    This is a concept that I’ve spent years teaching to my children, and it’s unfortunate that so many these days have intentionally sought to undermine this. If I can help it, my children will go to trade schools, not college. Collegiate education seems to have taken a giant, steaming dump on the front lawn, as of late.

    I apologize if I seem to be taking over the comments section, but all I’ve seen for the last week is “woe is me” from a great many people, and a guy can only take so much for so long.

    Anyways, be blessed, have a nice day and try to understand that you’re made in God’s image, and nothing else matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehamazon says:

      I agree that race, as a construct, *shouldn’t* exist, but racism does. Pretending it doesn’t hasn’t moved the needle much, at least not to how people of color are treated. So until that huge institutionalized problem is acknowledged or addressed, I choose to live in the reality that does exist and not the fantasy that doesn’t. Children *are* assholes and bullies become a blip, but I’ve encountered far worse as an adult from other adults – who “meant well” or would not consider themselves racist – so I think there’s still a lot of work to be done.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do racists exist? Absolutely, to suggest otherwise would be ridiculous. Even I’ve experienced racism and discrimination. However, I disagree with the idea that it’s institutionalized. If it were so, there would be laws on the books to enshrine it. There would be something obvious, for it to be institutionalized. Yet, as I recall, Jim Crowe and segregation went the way of the dinosaur decades ago, thank God. More than half a century ago, if I’m not mistaken. Am I arguing that we ought to dump that period into the waste bin of history? No. I am, however, suggesting that we just let it die the death it deserves.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. woeful2016 says:

    I loved this post. The armoured coconut is such a perfect way to describe your experience. I’m black with two black parents and I still received similar comments to yourself. I always knew I was different from the perceived notion of what other black people are like. But I’ve always known what I am, who I am and those comments (mostly) where water off a ducks back. I am now married to a white man and have three mixed race children but that doesn’t dampen my “blackness”, nothing will. Whether you discovered who you were in your teens or your eighties, it doesn’t matter, as long as you discover and accept it. Beautiful article, I will look out for more.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. muffin978 says:

    This is great! Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. mayzeshop says:

    Appreciated for all experience..

    The experience is valuable teacher… sad or happy.. all have meaning… love our life.. life can love our self… https://mayzeshop.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  12. mayzeshop says:

    I apreciated for all experience..

    The experience is valuable teacher..

    Thank you.. every time have process also progress..

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You write beautifully. It’s always interesting for me to hear insight into the experience of people of color, especially since I’m in an interracial relationship. I always think it’s curious how my own experience is almost the exact opposite – I look white, but I’m culturally different. (I’m a first generation immigrant from Eastern Europe.) So it’s always “Oh goody, I think I belong… Wait, no I don’t.”

    Anyway, keep up the amazing work. You’re very good at writing in a way that captures a reader’s attention. I couldn’t look away.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. michelle says:

    As a white (white-ish–depends who you ask and how you classify Arabic people) mom of two adopted Latinx kids, I read your essay and the following comments with great interest. I think my kids and I have benefited from standing on the shoulders of families like yours–if I do my math right, my kids were adopted at least thirty years after you were. So by the time we formed our transracial family, there were grown up adoptees like you speaking out, and books to read, and classes to take. So we did move to a diverse neighborhood filled with mixed race families, and 40-50% Central and South American, a few Arabic families, some Asian, Sikh, some white etc…so our kids have people who look like them as friends and teachers, and I have friends who look like them. But still, talking about race matters too–and even though I thought I did a good job of validating their experiences (after all, I dealt with racism, and my dad, who looked very dark and had a very Arab name and couldn’t make it through an airport easily ever), I realize now, post election, that I underplayed it. I think I was trying to protect my kids by saying things like “Nah, maybe they didn’t mean it that way,” if the comments were less than obviously racist. Because I didn’t want them thinking it’s about race all the time. Now I’m rethinking everything. I commend you and your parents for breaking ground when few people were doing it. I still believe love is what makes a family, and parents do the best they can, with their limited knowledge. And I’d say your parents must have done something right to raise such an articulate, clear thinking daughter.

    Liked by 4 people

    • thehamazon says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, and for sharing some of your story. I also believe love is a solid basis for any authentic interaction and that children will thrive from it – but also, being prepared for a world that isn’t 100% love all the time is good for kids, too. You and I both know that life isn’t about fairness, and justice doesn’t always prevail, and people can be terrible – but now, with where the country is heading, it’s about learning how to be allies with . By doing that, they will understand how to stand up for themselves, too. This is my hope, anyway, and what I’ve tried to teach my own kiddo.

      Liked by 4 people

      • michelle says:

        Agree totally. I try to answer my kids as honestly as possible given their respective ages. And we take actions together, whether it’s therapy, or letters to our congressmen, or protests, to address that lack of fairness and justness, so they don’t (and I don’t) feel utterly powerless. But I do also try to tell them what MLK said is true: the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. April C. says:

    This was the most amazingly on-point piece I’ve ever come across.

    I, too, grew up as the white-brown/Latina girl. Why? Not entirely sure where the root of that lies, to be honest. But, from friends constantly telling me that I “talk white” down to my brown boss being shocked that my then-pregnant belly was from my first child, it became rather…what singular word encompasses annoyance, offense, shame and partial defeat?

    Unfortunately, I’m still trying to figure out myself while avoiding becoming overzealous with it.

    Liked by 5 people

  16. seeking safety says:

    If you want the future to be a better place for us, the first step is to stop Trump.

    Petition is at https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19 please sign

    Liked by 2 people

  17. ellie mmm says:

    After reading your narrative I am now crying a little thinking about my brown baby girl and all the ways that I don’t-even-fuckin-know how to support her in her brown-ness. This white Mama is gonna have to keep learning, and reading and trying for the rest of her life to even begin. I guess the first step is being open to the hard conversations. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • thehamazon says:

      When I asked my mom what she would have done differently, she said she would have lived somewhere more diverse, or found a school that was, or – barring that – tried to find diverse friends for me to play with. No one knows how different the outcome would have been, but I think ‘normalizing’ diversity as she grows up can’t hurt. Also, it’s okay to know nothing – but maybe that can help you explore race and what that means to her together. What I know is: silence can be painful. To know she has a fierce ally in you is the best gift you can give her. xoxo

      Liked by 3 people

    • I’d say travel, and explore stuff that isn’t stereotypically white. Cultural food festivals, movies in other languages, hanging out with people that are from a different country – anything that connects you to the wider world.

      For me, nothing made me more self assured in my identity than realising that I didn’t have to fit into the boxes that were prescribed to me by the society I grew up in (Wollongong, on the east coast of Australia). Travelling back to Nigeria, actively seeking to experience other cultures and understanding how differently they lived, consuming really awesome content that wasn’t white/western – made me realise that different was not synonymous with bad, or unwanted. It allowed me to be ok with not fitting in.

      And please, have those tough conversations and have them often. Make it easy to bring up, encourage those identity issues to be talked about whenever she needs, and let her know that no matter what, she will be loved for who she is and whoever she decides to be. It’s something I think i really missed out on.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. thelongview says:

    You’re not alone! I’m 100% Indian, Indian ancestors of the same community unto the nth generation, born in independent India, grew up here, never left the country till I was 40… and yet I grew up thinking I was a little English girl! If it’s not the people around us who give us these half-baked ideas, it’s the books we read. Colonization casts a long shadow. Well, at least we’re figuring ourselves out now.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. photovotary says:

    Just wow. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. sdbohanon says:

    That was fantastic! Loved it

    Liked by 4 people

  21. liveoverseas says:

    This is really good it hit home for me growing up as the “white-black” kid who was never enough of anything to belong anywhere which built up a sort of resentment towards identifying as any member of a group. Of course it was different outside of the US where I was American and nothing else mattered. It always bothered me when I went home to the States because that’s where I was reminded that I didn’t fit in. I still struggle with it sometimes…it still hurts…but I know it’s not me or my fault for being who I am because the world, the whole world, sees me for me, and not the colour of my skin.

    Liked by 5 people

    • jasminesundefinedsoul says:

      I totally understand where your coming from, my first introduction to race was in Kindergarten. My mom is white and my dad is black. My mom picked me up from school one day and her boyfriend had joined her, my friends automatically assumed he was my dad because he was black, I couldn’t figure out why they would assume that and then the light bulb clicked. Even to this day I still sometimes feel like the odd puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit anywhere.

      Like

  22. […] one I had about Cool Ranch Doritos, and my day got exponentially better from there. My first real reflection on identity and race was an Editor’s Pick in Discover WordPress, a piece that’s surely To Be Continued. I […]

    Liked by 3 people

  23. writegill says:

    “I stayed locked in a bright white box with someone else’s name on it” – brilliant, like the rest of the edifying read.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. This is so appreciated!

    Liked by 4 people

  25. I stumbled upon your post and this article reminded me so much of our ‘Brown Girl’, a song about racism by Aaradhna that explores her own experience with casual racism while growing up in New Zealand.

    We saw her live last night at our Vodafone Music Award here http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/music/86596624/vnzmas-2016-aaradhna-gives-away-her-tui-after-winning-in-a-brown-category

    Thank you for sharing this article. Sad to find that racism is such a common thing worldwide even to this day and age.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. They say colour doesn’t matter, but try walking into a chemist to buy foundation and saying..’Oh.. any colour will do’.. they’ll give you a strange look then. Nice article.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. MATIFIED™ says:

    This was very insightful and inspiring that one person could have a magnificent midas touch to shed light on important issues. Good work

    Liked by 4 people

  28. acaribbeanblogger says:

    I read this post and was so inspired. Thanks for sharing as there are many out there that share your journey. All the best and keep strong!

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Lena Bui says:

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful article. Reading this made me smile and I understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes, I find accepting yourself is hard due to some societal constraints that are forced on you, but then again, you make it seem like it doesn’t have to be so hard to just love your entire being(:

    Liked by 7 people

  30. keenoptimist says:

    Reblogged this on The Keen Optimist and commented:
    I identify with this in general.

    Liked by 6 people

  31. Soleil says:

    Ideally I hope that someday American society can transcend color lines and color theories and that all these proclamations of supremacy and privilege, color, will be obsolete.

    I know I’m a black sheep here when I write what I am writing. But as someone who is ethnically mixed and has never fit in with the status quo of most American society I find it equally frustrating to see that color and race still predominate our mentality in the 21st century.

    Yes, racism exists. But pandering to mass media sympathies writing Declarations of Brownness or “white” people abusing themselves to appear “just” and “right” is NOT a healthy pathway to getting rid of racist attitudes in this country. It’s just allowing old rhetoric that scientifically, we know is not true, more water for its roots: that there is such a thing as a ‘race’ or separate species of human beings.

    I guess I don’t have patience for popular culture ethics and I wonder how much literature some people are coming into contact with or what sort of modes of thought are in place in our society which seems to mutate old beliefs into new ones. I feel the same way about pop culture feminism as a feminist myself. Yes, your insides are the defining aspect of you. If you want to combat something you know is wrong, you must define yourself. Sure, there are people who do and inevitably will get hung up on your ‘ethnicity’. But you should see them for what they are. Ignorant. To allow your psyche to be molded around untrue definitions is baffling to me. Are we really that persuaded by another person’s perception of us? Is progress really lumping people together as brown and white when there are a million diverse opinions? When we truly are more than just our skin and hair and eyes?

    I know someone is going to say that I don’t get it or that I’m speaking from a white privilege perspective. Alright, go ahead. I’m neither of those things, and can’t see how any of these ideas are beneficial to our future.

    Liked by 6 people

    • thehamazon says:

      Writing this was not an effort in any way to get rid of racist pathways in this country, but please let me know which internet essay has brought about this race-free utopia you speak of. Labeling everyone who gets hung up by ethnicity as ‘ignorant’ probably isn’t moving the needle in the healthy direction you describe, either. Though I don’t really understand why you commented – to agree but disagree? I’m sure Buzzfeed has a listicle about “25 Ways To Get Woke,” if that’s more your thing – but it seems like you have a long thesis paper of your own to write titled “How To Solve Race In America,” which I very much look forward to reading.

      Liked by 7 people

  32. atispoetish says:

    This is something I really can attest to. that feeling when you don’t look like you should be. I can’t explain
    .Thanks so much!

    Liked by 5 people

  33. This was an amazing post. Growing up with my stepdad’s side of the family (a nice group of White Republicans and Liberals) has had its challenges and I think they’ve taken me in as an “honorary white girl” since childhood. Now more than ever, I am finding my voice as a woman of color and trusting to exercise my voice + that they’ll love me no matter what. Thanks for sharing this – it was a necessary read today :)

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspective. I really enjoyed this post. To tackle such challenging subject matter is difficult enough. To do so with grace, wit and a fair bit of mirth is a virtue.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. I related, really & truly. Yes, I am white, but apparently religion is something else entirely. It wasn’t until I went off to college in Indiana that I heard (ad nauseum) the most Awesome of all Compliments, “But you don’t LOOOOOOK Jewish.” Why, thank you so much. I wish that I could say that you don’t look like a moron, but that would be wrong: I would be lying.

    Liked by 6 people

    • thehamazon says:

      Oh, man – I totally hear that. The rudest compliment I’ve gotten, over and over, from clueless white friends is “She’s the whitest girl I know!” in a “Don’t worry, she’s not what she looks like” tone. So frustrating, because pushing back made me look like the sensitive one instead of THEM being the *insensitive* ones.

      Liked by 4 people

  36. jhosack87 says:

    I’m a huge proponent of studying identity. What you did here is brilliant. In my years of writing about identity, I don’t know if I’ve ever done as good a job. You kept me glued to my screen as I read this. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and talent of writing with us!

    If you like writing on identity, I have two posts you may be interested in:

    1. Military Dependent Identity – https://jthosackjr.com/2016/10/08/the-argument-an-autoethnographic-perspective-of-military-dependent-identity/

    2. Collegiate Identity – https://jthosackjr.com/2016/10/27/blurred-images-bright-lights/

    I’d be interested in what you think!

    Wonderful to read your work.

    Liked by 4 people

  37. Growing up a very fair skinned, passing, Native with a distorted, Polio inflicted body, was not much fun. There was fun, but I was always the troubling one in the room. I, too, did not really figure it out til later in life, although, in a truly dissociated manner, I always knew. Hard, indeed.

    Liked by 4 people

  38. […] many years from now as apparently I am incapable of finishing a book, but in the meantime, read The Armored Coconut, her meditation on, well, it’s about race but a lot of other things too. Popularity. Teenage […]

    Liked by 4 people

  39. […] are probably more positives – hey, The Armored Coconut was included in the Five Star Mixtape #384 of great blog posts for this week (yay!) – but […]

    Liked by 4 people

  40. […] Other girls I desperately wanted to be: Mallory Keaton, Punky Brewster, Clarissa who told us everything, and Nancy Drew; adorable white girls with a certain kind of sass, plus – in Nancy’s case – a sky blue convertible and no real curfew. These girls represented freedom to be whoever you wanted, as long as you had your own show. I also wanted to be Shannon Whatsherface in the seventh grade: blond hair, blue eyes, good grades, sunny demeanor; a girl who went on to work with children and marry the hot guy from our high school. I was dying to be any of the girls who played the love interest of a Cory, Haim or even Feldman – didn’t matter in the end since they both became drug addicts (an ironic prophecy for my future relationships) – because of course they were my boyfriend ideals. I wanted to be Cher in Clueless, or even Tai, but not Dionne; I wanted to be Jennifer Capriati, not Venus Williams. And I cringe to admit that I wanted to be the whitest, blandest Cosby kid – yes, SONDRA, married to a black man named Elvin, who just seemed like a nerdy white guy in disguise. The rest of the Cosby kids seemed like they were actually black, and I just couldn’t see myself in them. — The Armored Coconut […]

    Liked by 5 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: