Source of featured image: http://industrialantioppression.blogspot.com/2013/04/bedlam-bedlam-its-time-to-admit-that.html
I grew up a black kid in a predominately white city in southern Washington state. While I thought nothing of this during elementary school, it started becoming an issue throughout middle school and high school, and still carries over to a small degree today. The issue was that my peers believed I was “white-washed”, a term often used to describe a colored person who “acts white”. Because it was clearly used as a derogatory term against me, it instilled an insecurity that wouldn’t go away until I became an adult and understood just how ridiculous and wrong the term was to begin with. It led me at first to try really hard to fit the black stereotype, then midway through high school it caused me to completely denounce just about anything I felt associated with the black stereotype. I behaved like someone who was confused about who they were. I adopted a new clothing style every year and explored new music genres. It interfered with who I believed to be my friends and it inhibited my performance in both sports and academia. My desire to simultaneously fit and avoid my stereotype left me with a scattered sense of self. Although I greatly despised some of my peers, I don’t necessarily blame them for causing my distress. I think they were simply conditioned by society in the same way I was, and I didn’t at the time possess the mental faculties to see through it. Now my opinions have matured and I can finally articulate what exactly I intuitively felt was wrong with the term “white-washed” in the first place.