Here's my backstory. Born into a military family, raised by a mother who doesn't consider herself black. Mom's birth certificate lists her as white.
Yet, my grandmother is black, and my grandfather immigrated from Barbados. Supposedly his Mom was black Barbadian, and his father was British.
Growing up, my mother always told us not to claim we were black as our race. Instead, we had to write down all our races. And she'd start listing them, Irish, Indian, Spanish, etc., and leave off black. Now how do you do that? Hmmm
In High School, I completed forms listing my race as black, and that irritated her. I'd remind Mom that she married a black man who was my dad.
I'd later hear a story about Mom at a family reunion. My grandmother would bring Mom and her sister inside at noon when the sun got too hot so they wouldn't get dark.
My mother was ashamed of her blackness, and my grandmother passed that down. I realized years ago that I carried that shame as well.
This might sound nuts today, but I have a first cousin that I was once close to who switched. She left the family in her early twenties and passed for white. I was shocked when that happened.
To be continued…