The Atlantic: Your Stories of Racism

“Your Stories” Excerpt:

I’m Mexican but was adopted by an all-white family in a white community. I don’t speak any Spanish and nobody would know I was Mexican unless they looked carefully. When I married I never talked about my heritage with my in-laws, so they may have assumed I was just a very tan white person.

One day driving home with my sister-in-laws, we saw a black woman being pulled over. Immediately the race jokes began. My husband looked his sister in the eye and asked, “Are you a racist? Why would you say that?” She responded that she was and hated all people of color. It was her right to be racist.

I remember my husband yelling at her. I remember feeling my body shake as I realized the family I married into hated me. I remember saying that if she ever spoke like that in the future I wouldn’t give her the opportunity again. But most of all I remember feeling sick. My whole life people assumed I was white but I wasn’t. I’d been living a lie. And now my in-laws knew I wasn’t white. I knew they wouldn’t like me now. It’s troubling, to say the least. Now at family gatherings I can’t help but feel insecure. I know nobody will forget that day in the car—the day they realized I wasn’t one of them.

But today … I’m proud. I’m proud to be Mexican. Sometimes I’m thankful for that night. I’m thankful because it allowed me to come out and be proud of who I am regardless of what some might think.

I’m excited to see how your series evolves about your readers’ experiences with racism. Sadly it’s so common but few people talk about their personal experiences. Often it’s because they’re embarrassed.

Source: The Atlantic