Sometimes I feel like every bit of who I am has to pass (or, try to pass, if at all possible) off as something else, like it’s not safe/okay to be me as-is.
I realize that I am privileged in many ways, but I still have this feeling.
My autistic self feels like it has to pass as neurotypical. My queer self has to pass as straight (and my pansexual self has to pass as bi). My trans self has to pass as cis. My non-binary self has to pass as binary (feminine). My demi-sexual self has to pass as at least as sex-obsessed as the rest of American society.
My political self has to pass as ?honestly America, I can’t tell exactly what your politics are these days, but they’re not mine.
My working-class self has to pass as middle class. My forty-year-old self has to pass as younger. My introvert self has to pass as extrovert. My atheist self has to pass as Christian. Even my vegan self has to pass as meat-eating (in some places, saying you’re vegan is like making baby Jesus cry).
I am white, so, that’s huge. So much privilege there.
Not sure what I’m supposed to do about feeling connected to my “roots”, though. What are white roots minus cultural appropriation and the history of colonization and exploitation? What am I left with- Wonder bread and tv game shows? Do I go old school and bust out the bonnets and prairie dresses? I’m only like 1/18th any particular descent line, so suddenly pretending to honor my Welsh (Irish, German, French, etc) ancestors that I don’t even know the names of would be about as bad as proclaiming my kinship to the infamously ubiquitous Cherokee princess who apparently was great-grandmother to all white people in the U.S. /sarcasm
Being white gives me so much privilege, but not much real identity. Being white in itself is not something that I feel I can be proud of… Being a white American invokes quite a lot of guilt and often shame in me. Sometimes I wish I could pass as non-white (no pigment, no chance) just to escape that. And then I feel a really complicated mess of guilt and grief and embarrassment over that. Is there any aspect of who I am that I can be at peace with, in the greater context of society?
Still, I know how privileged I am by being white.
Here’s to a future where no one feels they have to pass, for any reason (especially not for safety or for self-worth/ to avoid shame), because people are accepted, acknowledged, and appreciated for who they are.