I was born to un-white skin, a foreign name, one Middle Eastern Moslem parent and the other an Agnostic Jew. Later, bussed across town to the “black school” for the sake of segregation, I experienced the white people as rejecting me for my non-whiteness and non-Christian-ness, and from the Blacks- (What language am I even supposed to use here? Blacks sounds ignorant and racist, Negroes, to me, sounds removed and pretentious, and African American feels like an attempt at Political Correctness???), I sensed hostility for my whiteness. It was not uncommon to regularly be told “Ima beat your skinny white ass. You better watch it.” I was an asshole though, so it could have been that. Hard to know.
To be honest, I was prepared to hate on the black people, if it would have made me more seem more white or acceptable. But also, important to note: our house literally pulsed with bitterness and rage. This, for me, manifested in a fuck-ton of seething resentment– which seemed always to be seeking a host. For anyone other than me, to be under fire, seemed good. Because I descended from angry people who were not racist, I did not hate black people, I just hated. Period. But nobody, more than myself.
My wrathful mouth, attitude and antics, I see now, could have been fatal, had I been black. I always, unknowingly, have benefitted and been protected by my fate of having been born “not black”. For the record, I have never felt white—just non-black.
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