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In black and white: reflecting on the struggles of fitting in

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In black and white: reflecting on the struggles of fitting in

Michaela Crittenden shares her experiences growing up as biracial.

Michaela Crittenden shares her experiences growing up as biracial.

Michaela Crittenden shares her experiences growing up as biracial.

Michaela Crittenden shares her experiences growing up as biracial.

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I am biracial. Half black, half white. I live between two different worlds and do not quite fit into either of them perfectly. I cannot entirely identify with my white peers because I have black experiences. I do not know what it is like to be white, I never will. But I also cannot relate with my black peers because I grew up around white people for so long, I do not feel black enough to be around them. In some ways I fit in with each group, but honestly, I do not fit in anywhere.  Everyone has their own struggles, and this is one of mine. It feels like a line I must walk. I have to balance on this wire and try not to fall into one side or the other. I am expected to be black, but not too black. I also need to be white, but not completely white. I do not want to lose part of myself pretending to be someone I am not. I do not want to ignore either part of who I am, but I am torn. Caught between two different options and neither feels quite right.

My whole life has been an act of balancing. I fear falling off and losing myself for this idea of fitting in. I love being biracial. I love having the best of both worlds. I love my skin color, my hair, even though it can be frustrating, and I love my parents. It does prove to be tough to be both black and white, but I love having two sides and two perspectives on life. This is part of what makes me, me. I do not want to let half of my race define me one way or the other. I am biracial. I am black and I am white. I do not fit in and that is okay. I am me and I am wonderful. Race does not define a person. Not black, white, biracial or Hispanic. That may be part of who we are, but it is not who we are. We are people. We are human. We are the same. We are unique. We are anything we want to be. Nothing will ever change that.

Michaela Crittenden can be contacted at [email protected]

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