|San Francisco Bay Area|
My racial ambiguity makes it easy for me to be from anywhere. I’ve gotten Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Lebanese, Portuguese, Argentinian, Columbian, Spanish, Tunisian, you name it! No one ever guesses I’m a bi-racial American (outside of America that is). My mom is mixed Irish and German decent from Ohio and my father is Fula from Guinea-Bissau in West Africa.
|5th grade- my sister's 1st birthday|
As I got older I boiled my ethnicity down to black and white, for simplicities sake. But I learned that when you say black you lose the cultural context that comes from being African. Some people wouldn’t think twice about the answer I gave, but occasionally I would get someone who would then ask why I didn’t act or talk more black or why I didn’t have similar shared experiences with the black community (not in those words exactly, but alluding to something like that). To avoid further confusion and questioning, I went back to saying I was half Bissau-Guinean.
I can’t explain my understanding of Guinea Bissau with out explaining my relationship with the men in my life who are from there, my dad and step-dad.
My dad is an Imam, a Muslim spiritual leader, in Alameda, so I grew up in his home practicing Islam. But I never knew where the line was drawn between African tradition and Islamic practice. We would eat with our hands, take showers out of buckets even though the shower head worked perfectly fine, and use water and not toilet paper when we used the bathroom. I really only had these experiences in snapshots because I would visit my dad every other weekend. I was young and just took it all in stride, not ever questioning why we did these things.
|High school - Davis Legacy Soccer Team senior year|
Come back tomorrow for - Through her eyes - Meet Aliesha part Two