I wrote a piece called “Biracial and not proud” (that I will not link because that’s not the goal) about what I learned from a biracial man (Jamaican and white) who had zip zero link to his Jamaican side and only his white side. I was deeply uncomfortable with his snarky comments about black women, African-American hair, HBCUs, Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman, etc. He grew up on a Fox-listening, Republican household with friends who were Latino and admittedly racist against black people, too. And it didn’t take many conversations before I figure out he just had a painfully low amount of knowledge of anything but white people and kinda ridiculed anything black. It became somewhere between offensive and sad. And then I befriended a Mexican and black girl who had no ties to her Mexican father. Same thing, but on the other side. She dismissed Mexican culture altogether.

But there was a third girl who seemed pretty comfortable in both groups. The difference was her family taught her about both. She could easily mingle between groups, although between all three, she was clearly the lightest with the longest hair and clearly looked more white. I think it’s important that parents attempt to teach their kids about both sides of their culture so they don’t grow up resenting one side.

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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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