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I have a sneaky suspicion that this will be a difficult journey for me. However, this was my quest for this year even before Mothering started these boards.

But who are you? When you look in the mirror, who stares back at you with eyes full of wonder, mystery, and knowledge?

I'm me. A mom, a woman viewed to be disabled, a fighter...a person who may lose but always gets back up again, a mother in mourning, the misunderstood, a woman who truly knows what it's like to be loved, as well as despised. I've been many things and travelled many roads and all of that has molded my personality as much as my genetics have molded my bones and flesh.

I'm 'only 30'.

I'm a loving person, not just a 'woman', with strong convictions and a good heart, but not always the best road map.

If you had to describe yourself, what community, race, or cultural terms would you use for yourself?

Racially? I'm white. What parts make up that 'whiteness' seem irrelevant to me. I'm British, Irish, Swedish, and a very small part of me is Indian.

Culturally, I was raised 'southern aristocrat'. My family has money and strong southern convictions. Not only do I have 'white privilege', I also have 'class privilege', and the older I get, the more I realize how these things have shaped me and my perceptions.

I was raised racist, and it has been a long and difficult battle to become anything else. Both sides of my family were slave owners before the civil war, and not only do I fight the racism within my family...but I fight the perceptions of others (even whites) when it comes out that we did in fact own other people. I find myself torn between being enraged that people would insinuate that my family, my own flesh and blood, would have hurt people the way slave owners are described as hurting slaves in history texts and other stories, having to defend my family name from people expressing their disgust, and being disgusted myself with my family because they have continued to carry on racist traditions.

When other people or institutions in the community describe you, what racial terms do they give for the complexity of your lived experience?

I'm 'just white', and as a white person I'm viewed as privileged and probably racist.

My race has been thrown in my face the past year. My toddler was murdered in a black neighborhood and the woman charged with the crime is black. She is using her race to prove that she is a victim, even going as far as having Rev. Sharpton's people stand behind her. It disgusts me, but I'm 'not allowed' to feel that way. On the other hand, my family is enraged and disgusted not just by her actions and the actions of the other people who had a hand in my son's murder, but it has strengthened their convictions that their racism is justified. I feel torn. Stuck in the middle trying not to offend anyone, and I've never felt more 'white' in my life. The fact that I'm white, and my blonde-haired, blue-eyed son was murdered in the home of a black woman in Detroit is something I can't hide or get away from. It is assumed by many...from blacks to white supremacists, that I am already using my race to get this woman convicted, that I am using and will use my white privilege to make this woman pay for my son's death, be it fair or not. It is assumed by all that I am racist, and I get all the hatred and praise that go with it, though I've spoken not a word about how I actually feel.

Do you use the same descriptions as others? If not, why do you think there are differences?

I don't suppose so. Since race was such a big part of my life growing up...and now again race is in the forefront of everyone's mind, I've had to think about racism and race much more than most 'white people' have.

The hardest point isn't that I know where I stand on the racism/race issue at all, but that I have no clue. I'm on a long journey that will shape my life, and all I really know at this point is where not to stand...and that's only due to the personal experiences of myself and others. Unfortunately, the experiences of others are drastically varied, and I have to decide through trial and error which of those experiences I will take to heart.
 
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