The Cult of Melinda

The gAyTM is closed! No gay rights, no gay $$$!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Different Shade of Pale

Did you know that I'm a "woman of color"? I didn't until I got involved in a HUGE debate on AfterEllen's Hot 100 Women of Color List.

Now, those of you who have met me or seen a picture of me know that I am PALE, so pale that I can't actually tan. I burn. Then I go white again. That little fact has always been the bane of my existence. I wanted the tan and I never thought it was fair that my half-sister, who is way more white than I am, was born dark and that my other half-siblings (minus one) have no problem getting a tan.

It's also caused the little problem that people who don't know better get this really stupid look on their faces when I tell them I'm not white. I guess that must be a confusing statement coming from someone with pale skin, blue eyes and well, whatever color hair I have that week. (Okay, I'm a natural blonde, but my hair has darkened with age, so at least it isn't white blonde anymore, except for a few stubborn streaks that I hide or dye.) I think most people think I'm one of those white people who are so obsessed with Native Americans that they claim to have some distant Native relative, usually Cherokee. (I swear either those people are lying or the Cherokee are totally whores who'll sleep with anything!)

Anyway, I think some people think I'm making it up when I tell them my actual grandparents were Choctaw. Sometimes, I break out the picture of the former Chief of the Choctaw so they can see the facial resemblance.

That picture is no use to anyone who hasn't seen me, but the rest of you know the score. Chief Philip would fit right in at Melinda's family reunions.

People who think I'm "making it up" are, therefore, too ignorant to know what the Choctaw look like and too stupid to realize that many biracial people look like the lighter race, especially if they're mixed on both sides of their families. Take this set of twins, for example:

Anyway, back to the point. My racial background has been a big bone of contention, as you can imagine, with a lot of people feeling they had the right to "define" me and consider the facts and my opinion on the matter irrelevant. I identify as biracial or mixed blood, but I don't know that I'd ever use the term "woman of color" to describe myself. Well, there was this one time in grad school I considered attending a meeting for "people of color" because I thought it would be funny to see the looks on people's faces.

By the definitions used to compose the list, however, I'm a "woman of color." I don't know if I'll go around telling people that, but it is kind of cool.


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