Monday, April 2, 2012

Black White Indian French

In a check out line at the grocery store I saw this amazingly beautiful young girl. The only word I could mentally think of to describe her was "exotic." When it came time for her to check me out I was compelled to ask her ethnicity. She looked up at me with these incredible doe eyes and quipped, "I'm the same as you." I didn't expect that answered and it showed. "I'm B.W.I.F she said nonchalantly, Black White Indian and you."

It was revolutionary for me to hear this young woman speak so boldly and honestly about my ancestry, our ancestry. She was spot on. We are people of color, all colors. It is freeing to not only recognize yourself in others but embrace it.

I have always seen myself in others. Not in denial of the history of America but as a silent observer of shames of the past. In the white woman at the hair salon with hair kinkier than mine, we steal quick glances at each other, an unspeakable knowing. I see myself when I look into a pair of blue eyes surrounded by blond hair and a face characterized by thick lips and an even wider nose.

If I don't say anything I blend in perfectly with my Native American friends. In New York on a subway I look like a myriad of folks from all over the world as well as all over America.

Yes my grandmother spoke creole french and broken English. Her hair sandy blonde, her eyes transparent green. A proud defiant black woman.

Just as I am reminded by a new generation of my place in America, just as I replaced the mindset of "thinking outside of the box," with "there is no box," I am fully aware that there are no black people or white people. There are only people.

Black history is really American history. Those boxes labeled black, white, Hispanic, and Asian are for people in denial. If we all delve deep enough into our hearts, found and accepted the truth, the only appropriate box to check would be human !


  1. LOL, what a great exchange. ANd as for NYC best city in the world! Come visit my own B!

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  3. I'm happy that you ran into this young woman. I love history and world religion, and sometimes choke my children with cultural stories. :) Wonderful to see that others have a similar passion. This is an important post. Thanks!

    ps~ I commented on Amazing Grace and Arlee also. Hope you will visit my simple space.

  4. Here-here! I'm glad you asked her.

    Over from A-Z Challenge.

    Happy Monday!

    My A-Z

  5. I loved the conversation at the check-out stand. How funny, and I more than enjoyed your ultimate message. What do you think? should we *all* quit checking those stupid little boxes for ethnicity on forms. It could be a movement. ;-)

  6. That is a beautiful post! Thank you so much for coming over to my blog, so I could find yours!

  7. Tami- thanks for stopping in and human is really All that matters
    Sandra-your B was the bomb and thanks for the visit
    Archna- culture is so important I appreciate your dropping in
    sc-yep I guess that could be a movement,thanks for checking me out
    Jaycee-thanks for dropping by and Happy Challenge to you!

  8. Ummmm - this post was like warm soup - filling and soothing. Thank you.

  9. Hard to top your post, so I'll just offer my sincere appreciation to you for writing it!

  10. Nicely said. I'm Canadian, so I guess I'd be French. :) Ha!
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. My silly behind would actually try to wish all humans would and could embrace the removal of check marks, categories and boxes for race. You are spot on that we are all humans. The HUMAN race. Science fiction may not be too far off with their stories and tales where this division we live in today has to crumble so we could all work to ensure the survival of our race. Afterall, if Mother Earth decided to erupt every volcano and shift every fault line, it won't be done by race or ethnicity lol!!!

  12. Jaye- thanks for a great compliment & visiting me
    M.J.- I appreciate your comment and your visit
    Emily-Oui, oui madame. merci and come again

  13. Seeing ourselves in others is what helps to make us more whole I think. Sadly, it only happens to me occasionally, but then I don't look for it either.

  14. Love the last line! How true that we should stop looking at the colour of a person's skin and to look at what truly matters on the inside.

    And on an aside, may I say that people with mixed heritage are the most beautiful. They inherit the best features of all worlds!

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

  15. Really great post. I'm surprised I'm still constantly asked about my ethnic origin. Does it matter?