And then, they weren’t.
Growing up, the only colors I saw were the ones in my crayon box. I was born into a diverse family, a welfare family, a family that lived in the projects with other welfare families. They were my people and color didn’t matter, because ALL the colors were mine.
I didn’t realize that “my people” were comprised of Caucasian Americans until I was in Junior High. Until then, all people were my people and I loved it! It was like my smile was the key and my people opened their doors! Not my “white people“, I’m talking about my people. The welfare families in the projects and the moms that fed 9 kids bologna sandwiches everyday, as they ran from ransacked playground to projects and back again! Those were my people.
All of My People:
My big brother is mixed. He is white and mostly black, but probably has some Cuban or a little native in there, if you want to get technical. My brother has dark skin for a mixed boy, so he always leaned towards that signed of his heritage. I grew up with my big brother, my god brother Jodi, my brother’s best friend Nate and yes, I might have been the only little white girl screaming out some Rakim or NWA lyrics, but shit, they were my people.
When my brother got married, they brought a whole other family into the mix and I was so glad they were mine. I thought my brother’s wife was beautiful and she always had her outfits, her nails and her hair on point! I remember when she used to sit me down, just like the other girls, and braid my tender-ass white head. She didn’t treat me any different. Her family didn’t treat me any different. These were my people and then, they weren’t.
Not My People
It started in junior high or, for me at least, that was when I realized that I was really different from my people and didn’t fit in.
It happened slowly at first, people making fun of me for wearing “black people’s” clothes or for having a “black person’s” hairstyle. It started coming faster and faster as I grew and it came from family too. I couldn’t understand, I loved all of my people, but for some reason, my people didn’t love me.
When Your Village Is Empty
They say it takes a village, well, my village used to be filled with a glorious kaleidoscope of my people, but now, it is empty and barren. My people have left me, because I am not their people.
America is supposed to be the melting pot. The one place where all colors, cultures and everything else can come together and form a people. My people. However, all of the people are to busy trying hold on to what only belongs to their people, instead of sharing it with other people.
I just wish that I had never had the magical feeling of “My People” taken away from me. To be told I wasn’t special enough, I wasn’t black enough, I wasn’t thug enough, I wasn’t skinny enough, I wasn’t latina enough, I wasn’t rich enough and I wasn’t poor enough to be with my people.
I wish I could turn back time, and go back to the projects, where all the people were my people, no questions asked.
Oh, and by the way, my village may be empty, but it is not closed. All people are the people for me and I hope someday, that it will be full again.