Thanksgiving was always both my favorite and least favorite holiday.  It was my favorite for the obvious reason: the best cooks in the family always threw down. At the same time, I always dreaded the quiet times between bites or after dinner that my extended family would use to play the dozens .

I’ve never enjoyed playing the dozens both because I’m not good at coming up with “clapbacks” and because I am such an easy target as the so-called eclectic one in the family.  Most of my family lives in what out-of-towners would call “the country” or in the urban south, while I’ve lived a good portion of my life in somebody’s suburb. My first best friend was a white girl named Amy and we would always run home after school to sneak and watch Dawson’s Creek in her room. I’ve also enjoyed academia ever since I was younger and would actually read the “Hooked-on-Phonics” books in my spare time for pleasure as a child. As a result, I’ve always valued speaking intelligently, having clear diction and communicating like I have some sense.

Apparently, this means that I talk like a white girl.

 Fast forward a few years and I’m finding my way as a strong willed individual. I realize that in addition to the hip hop that I’ve grown up on, I also like alternative rock. Attending Warped Tour became a summer tradition and stocking up on band t-shirts and lace gloves from Hop Topic was a way of life. My iPod nano was my best friends on bus rides to and from school or on car rides to family functions. I was finally becoming comfortable with myself, I thought until I was greeted by the judgmental eyes and smug remarks of my extended family every year.

Black & Proud Shirt from Adorned By Chi
Black & Proud Shirt from Adorned By Chi

“Bryanda, what the hell are you listening to? Oh yeah, I forgot you be listening to that white people music. Why you be listening to that devil worshiping music? What is crowdsurfing? You be jumping in the crowd when you go to concerts? Oh, you tryna get yo’ self killed. Why you talk like that? You been hanging around them white folks too long. So, you wanna be white? I bet you got nothing but white friends. You be dating them white boys, don’t you? You can’t be doing everything them white people be doing. What you got against being Black? You a white girl.” 

Thanksgiving went from being my favorite holiday to becoming a source of anxiety as I knew that nothing that I could say would stop them from calling me the white girl in the family. In the general sense, there’s nothing wrong with being a white girl…unless, of course, you are not a white girl.

As I’ve grown older and have laid some groundwork when it comes to setting standards of how people address me, my family has come to respect and accept me for the way that I am. This, however, only came from me having confidence in my personality and challenging judgmental statements that came my way. Every now and again, people will slip up and call me the “white girl” and they are always greeted with an intelligent conversation on how their comments are actually an insult to themselves. 

So let’s hear it. Were you ever called the “white kid” in your family?

 

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  • Tommy

    This happened to me more so in high school than anything. It’s sad that how you talk or what friends you have dictates white or black. I love my people and always want the best for us. I just wish that some of us would stop giving credibility to things that are hindering us.

  • TC’s Views

    My Jamaican family always loved my voice and diction. They are the ones who forced me to speak like I have some sense. Unfortunately, I was ridiculed by my peers since my grade school years and well into my adult life. Till this day, grown Black-American "friends" and associates call me "bougie, white girl, Oreo."

    Of course it bothers me. Why can’t I just be "Bad & Bougie" professional Black woman who speaks proper English?

  • sarah

    This happened to me in all my years of high school! I think it’s an african american thing because immigrant parents WANT us to talk normal! Sadly i had to cut off the african american friends i hate and stick to black people from outside the usa because they weren’t the ones making fun of me and calling me an oreo or coconut and saying i sounded like a valley girl.

  • Johnny Quid

    Firstly, great post!

    I didn’t hear this too much from my family. From time to time, if I got mouthy, my Mama and sister WOULD say that I had been "hangin around them White People too long", basing this off the idea that White kids are disrespectful to their parents, but the real problems came in high school for me. In ’97, I was big into Korn, Jncos, Vans, and skateboarding. I had a chain wallet, and I got picked on CONSTANTLY…by other Black kids. They assumed I was trying to be something I wasn’t, but all I was doing was being myself. Years later, I was at the bowling alley for a birthday part for my gf at the time, and there was an issue with the lanes we had reserved. When I told her and her friends, one of them was all "See YOU AIN’T BLACK ENOUGH!" and goes storming back over to counter, as if being loud, obnoxious, and rude is how Black people get things done. I even had a 12 year old, light skinned Black girl tell me to "Act your race" when she saw me and my friends skateboarding. Trust me, I could write a book about this.

  • Anon133

    I’ll start by saying I’m not black, im a latino girl. I was actually reading this article to show to a friend of mine who faces some of these difficulties. However upon reading the article and some of the comments I found there are parts I could relate to as well. I was raised in a primarily African American neighborhood and therefore knew nothing of "white girl" music, fashion, or anything of the sort since everyone I associated with was not that. I remember friends saying I was more "black" than my mixed siblings, though I Personally felt like I was always trying to fit in. Somewhere around late junior high, I was introduced to rock music and a whole new world all together to me that I felt more comfortable with. For the first time in my life I had felt accepted and true to myself. However my friends from home and even family didn’t agree with it, they said I was being too white. That I thought I was better than them because I liked things that they didnt didn’t. I listened to devil music and I must be goth, it was because of the white people I hang with. It finally got to a point where the very people I grew up with and called my closest friends began to ridicule me for having a higher vocabulary when when all I did was work hard in school. I know it’s not the same, nobody can compare to what the African American community must face. But it definitely feels good to feel like I could connect to something in this article. Nobody regardless of ethnicity should ever have to feel as though they can’t feel like themselves.

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