Hi Ven,

I definitely do not have children (voluntarily). But I was also old before my time. “Fitting in” wasn’t a priority for me at all. I was one of those kids who preferred to hang out with my parents’ landlord instead of kids my age and a leader (read: bossy as hell) by elementary school. If anything, I went out of my way to try to not fit in. But as stated in the post, I’m not biracial (or triracial) so I can’t tell you what I would do in that situation anymore than any other identity that I’m not. I can tell you what I think I’d do, but there have been many instances in which I think I would do one thing and do the exact opposite.

I also went to a public elementary school that was very aware of who it was. Black kids in my classes were reading Malcolm X’s book and seeing the movie starring Denzel in sixth grade. In schools with large minority populations, race comes up all the time. We don’t shame people out of talking about it. (That’s one of the reasons I mentioned the two other girls in this post — neither hid being biracial but they clearly seemed comfortable around black folks.) It’s a much more open discussion though. I realized as I got older that people who were in schools where minorities were literally in the minority, the topic itself was dodged.

In high school, we had foreign exchange students come to our school. I don’t recall speaking about race and culture as a problem. But again, a black girl from London telling you she’s black and comparing American culture to European culture probably wasn’t as uncomfortable for her in a really diverse school as opposed to visiting an all-white one. (One of my black female friends was a host.) I went to school with about one-third of Mexican (and Guatemalan) students in high school. We talked about culture and race all the time. I had the biggest crush on this Mexican boy in my homeroom. It wasn’t frowned upon. It was just another topic of conversation.

Talking about race for me is no different than talking politics, religion, gender, etc. Some people grow up in communities where it’s not a taboo topic. Some people do. It’s concerning to me when people do believe it’s the elephant in the room though — it usually means they were shamed out of talking about it.

Anyway, to each his own. If you’re comfortable with him referring to himself as the broad term “American,” you’re his parent. I’m not. I, personally, would have a major issue with that. Still though, my opinion is just one of many — and you voluntarily commented on my post. So, there’s that.


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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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