Group of 6 coworkers (from different genders, races, backgrounds) sitting round a table talking.

Guest Blog - Not Black Enough, Not White Enough: Where Does One Fit Into the Workplace?

Articles Jul 2, 2020

At age 10 I learned how to respond to kids who asked me “what are you?”

At age 16 I learned how to divert the attention from my blackness to my whiteness.

At age 18 I learned how to keep the sun off my skin so I wouldn’t get darker.

And in 2011 I was the first African American to make the local waterski team in the summer town in Wisconsin where I spent my summers.

I grew up in a biracial, bipolicital household surrounded by a predominantly Mexican community growing up in Tucson, Arizona, so it wasn’t until I started spending my summers in small town Wisconsin that I learned dark colored skin is not always accepted. While I have always been the token black friend, I have also always been able to chameleon under my own white privilege. And when I knew that privilege was threatened, I learned to wear long sleeve shirts in the sun so I wouldn’t tint the color of my skin any darker.

Despite being able to camouflage around people I knew didn’t accept ‘others’, I was generally proud of my mixed race. I was confused why it wasn’t accepted outside of my hometown, and I was ashamed I had to hide my ethnicity – and yet, I still hid. By the time I entered the workforce, I had meticulously learned how to maneuver between my race and my privilege.


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