Passing

When I came out years ago, I was really confused by the term passing. In my history, passing was related to race, whereas in queer terms it means passing as male/female.

I think as a biracial person, most of the hate directed towards me had to do with the fact that I could easily choose to pass for white, abandon the race, and not bother myself with advancing civil rights for aboriginals. At least, to the outsider it seemed like an easy choice. But I wasn’t raised that way. Lightest next to my white grandma in a family a varying shades of brown, I just felt like I was a brown person. I confronted racism in elementary school next to my brown best buddies, I studied my history, I did everything a “good” upstanding Aboriginal was supposed to do.

But it didn’t save me the day some brown girls beat me up for being white and not afraid of them. What I remember most is their fury, and the way they kept denying that I could possibly be an Aboriginal.

It was a hate crime, from my own people. I was forced to reconcile the fact that I had white skin, and therefore more privilege.

I think I’m pretty obvious about my racial background. Still, for some people that will never be enough. They will always be jealous that I’m able to pass for white, not realizing the huge internal struggles that this poses.

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