“Being multiracial is a gift. It is the gift of choice. You are given a ticket to anywhere. You can inhabit any space as a temporary resident. You have legitimacy but not full ownership of several cultures. It is up to you how you will use this choice.
Growing up, I have only been conscious of my race in terms of where I felt out of place. I lived in upstate NY, in the hippy town of Woodstock, but I wasn’t white. I lived in Japan, but I wasn’t Asian. At my aunt’s Thanksgiving dinner, I am not black. These realizations made me uncomfortable, so I buried them away and stuck to what I knew best, trying to fit in with the majority.
Now I’m at Bard, and I can’t hide anymore. Now I’m at Bard, and there is tension and dialogue and questions about an identity that I have never explored. I have a cute answer, saying that I am a panda – white, black, and asian! But maybe that is just another way of hiding.
I’ve been called many things, and I’m always flattered. They say I could be hispanic, Indian, filipina. I like the possibilities. But I don’t own them.
I’m used to being a minority. In my town, sweet smiling faces complimented my skin tone, glad that their children were friends with someone diverse. My response to this was usually to try and prove that I wasn’t any different.
On the flip-side of the coin, POC have said to me, “Nah, you’re brown, but you’re not brown, you know?”
I think that trying to fit in for so long has created a barrier that stops me from exploring the rest of my identity. I have inhabited my familiar white middle class role so well that now… I have doubt, like:
Do I count? Am I allowed to talk about race? Do I count if I’m not part of a defined ethnic group?
The truth is that there isn’t one way to perform a race. Although I seem to equate “white” with my accent, my mannerisms, and the ginger approach I take to the topic of race, I know that any person can show these attributes. I cannot let society or my own fears prevent me from reclaiming the title of Woman of Color. I am not an impostor in this category.
I am not out of place.”
Out of Place, by Marley Alford
Performed in the Spring of 2015 Bard College ‘Race Monologues’