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But who are you? When you look in the mirror, who stares back at you with eyes full of wonder, mystery, and knowledge? If you had to describe yourself, what community, race, or cultural terms would you use for yourself? When other people or institutions in the community describe you, what racial terms do they give for the complexity of your lived experience? Do you use the same descriptions as others? If not, why do you think there are differences?

I am a woman: nurturer, giver of life, healer, teacher, lover, sister, daughter, friend.

When I look in the mirror, I see pale skin, flushed cheeks, striking black brows with light brown hair, thin and straight. Angular eyes that change shades of blue and green. I see all the women that came before me. English, Polish, German, Russian, Native American. Regal, majestic, strong. Quiet, humble, honest, intelligent. Poor, peasant, illiterate, illegitimate. A connection with these mothers of mine has been severed and I long to know who they were, beyond a name and a birthdate, too often, not even that. I sense a power descending from their hands down through the generations, but the knowledge has been lost.

I feel a strong connection to my immediate family, my children, my husband, my siblings, my grandmother. I feel a connection to more distant relatives, though we are not a close family beyond what I mentioned. I don't feel a sense of community in my neighborhood. I don't feel connection to a race or ethnic heritage. I know the box I'm supposed to check is "white" but I prefer not to check any box. White doesn't mean anything to me. I don't see another white person and think, "Yeah, there's someone like me." They're just another person. I look for other signals to see if they are "like me." But I know skin color means something to other people, and I think some people judge me because of the color of my skin. In their eyes, the color of my skin instantly condemns me as a racist.
 
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