Mixed-Race People Share Experiences Growing Up In Multiracial Families

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22.

“I’m mixed Native — Cherokee, Lakota, and white — but I’m mostly Native. My birth dad skipped out before I was born, and my mom grew up in a Catholic orphanage. My older half-brother’s family, who are white, ended up adopting me. There was very little racism for the most part, and they tried hard to help me connect with my Native side while living in an all-white town. However, I was constantly made to perm my ‘typical’ Native hair, which is nearly black and stick straight. I’m in my late 40s now and still coming to terms with the paleness of my skin and my inability to ‘pass’ blood quantum. The Native community is generally tight-knit and unwilling to let outsiders in unless you can prove yourself — rightly so, but it still sucks for those of us adopted by white folks.”

“Between ages 10 and 18, I’d only met three people of color, including a Black man who hid his racial identity to avoid being hurt. Though I’m paler, I was the darkest person in school. That messes with your head a bit; it’s a lot of internalized racism to work through as you get older.

As for my hair, I got to my 20s before I decided not to keep perming it. The funny thing is that it’s started curling on its own now. It’s actually starting to look like my birth mom’s hair, but I have no idea how or why.”

cr1stalfairie

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