WHO I AM
WHO I AM
Let me tell you a story.
I am mixed race- Black, Indigenous, and white- and when I was about 4 years old I told my father that I’d learned something. I told him I had learned “I’m white, and mommy’s white, and you’re Black”.
“No, jarral. Try again,” he said.
My mind went to my box of crayons assuming I must have chosen the wrong color word. There were so many shades, after all..
“I’m white, and mommy’s white, and you’re brown?”
“I’m peach, and mommy’s peach, and you’re brown?”
“No,” he said…
“I’m Black. And you’re Black”
And what I felt at hearing that was... utter disappointment. I understood, as many children do by that age, that Black folx don’t get as good of a deal as white people do. What my father understood was that in this world your race is chosen for you, and the world would definitely label me “Black”.
And from that moment, without even realizing it, I was learning about, growing with, and teaching concepts of anti-oppression. In various ways, throughout my life, I have always been an allyship trainer. Before “allyship” was trending on social media. Before there was social media.
I am a linguist and educator based in Berlin, Germany. Growing up in one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. I never had the privilege of ignoring the impact of systemic racism.
Later in life, when I started tackling barriers to inclusion in my second passion- the full contact sport known as roller derby- my lifelong fascination with language and communication paid off, and giving conversation based workshops was the natural next step.
ANgrenzen, December 4th, 2019 (German)