Halfrican: Being Black AND White in a Black OR White World

By Amanda Wells

It would be nice to be able to say that racism and ignorance is over….not so much, but I do have to admit that we, as a society, have come a long way for sure. One reason I know that is because I definitely wouldn’t exist! My Dad is black and my Mom is white and that makes me a Halfrican. No you didn’t read that wrong I did actually say Halfrican LOL. When my parents got married and started having kids it actually was still frowned upon to date outside of your race, and it was definitely not ok to have “mutt” children as my brother, sister and I were referred to on occasion.
My father was in the military so we moved around a lot. We actually lived in some really cool places like Japan, Hawaii, San Francisco, New Orleans to name a few. So guess where my parents decided to have us end up after living in some of the coolest places? Yep that’s right, Murrieta CA. Don’t get me wrong. Murrieta is an amazing place to raise your children and to live, but not the best place for a 6’0 tall mixed girl to find a date! I mean can a halfrican get a break or what! It has been interesting to say the least. We settled here in Murrieta in 1997 right in time for me to start 9th grade.

High school was full of ups and downs, but it was high school and everything is more dramatic in high school right?! Dating for me in high school was pretty nonexistent. The funny thing was that I was hit on constantly by all of my black guy friends and they always gave me a hard time because at that time I already knew that I was more attracted to white guys. I mean, I dated a black guy in 3rd grade and thought I was in love (really 3rd grade haha) but I was raised in predominantly white areas and I don’t know if that is the reason or if I was always more attracted to white guys ( the whole chicken and egg dilemma ).

I really started to notice the difficulty of being both black and white during high school. There were a lot of clubs to join and I remember this like it was yesterday. My 9th grade math teacher loved me in the beginning of the year. She was a black lady with braids and I had braids on and off so she was drawn to me right away. I always remember her saying little comments like “you know what I’m sayin, right girl? “ or “ They just don’t know “. “Who were THEY?” I remember asking myself, so I just went along with it because she and I just got along and I loved that class. Then one day everything changed. After class one day she pulled me aside and said “hey girl are you going to join any clubs?” I honestly didn’t have time because I was playing sports so I told her I didn’t really know yet, and then she tells me that she was the leader of the club BSU which was black student union and she wanted me to join! Honestly I have never felt so torn in my life. It was like I was outside of myself because she almost made it sound like my duty as a black woman to join this club……but I had always felt like exactly what I was– half black and half white, and if someone told me there as a white student union I wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to join that either.

I finally told her that I didn’t think I wanted to join because I had a lot of other extracurricular activities already, and let me tell you, literally that day she did a complete shift and never spoke to me again. She would barely answer my questions about math problems, or she would answer them so sarcastically that I was too embarrassed to ask another one. I know this might not seem like a huge monumental moment to most, but that was where I finally knew there was a clear Black or White line drawn and that I was going to be pressured a lot more in my life to choose one or the other EVEN though I was clearly BOTH!

It is now 2013 and I am very grateful for the advances that have been made and that everywhere you look there are more and more bi-racial couples. I have dated a handful of white guys in my lifetime and it’s funny because every time I do I always get the question “Have you ever dated a white guy before?” It’s probably something that is never going to fully go away. I am not married yet and I am still out there dating and I am getting approached by more white men but I always end up finding out that white men are intimidated to approach black or mixed women because they automatically assume we are attracted to black men. There is one thing I really like about being black and white, and I always joke about this. It is that I get the best of both worlds. One day I’m droppin it like it’s hot and the next day I’m line dancing with the best of them haha! Yep that’s just how it goes when you’re white AND black living in a white OR black world.

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