Was this comment considered racially biased?

@cream97 (29168)
United States
November 16, 2008 9:05am CST
Me and this older woman was talking.. She was a good friend of my mother-in-law, and a friend of my grandmother's. Well one day I was in this older woman's bedroom, and we just was talking about normal day to day discussions.. And so, I happened to mention my heritage to her.. I told her that I was African American mixed with Indian. And she then told me that I was not an Indian, and that I did not look like one. And I told her that I was, and that I was told this by my relatives. Then we went on to talk about something else.... And then a little while later, she just brought this up... She says, well you do have those deep eye brows like an Indian. I did not say anything... The truth is, I am mixed with Indian.. I was very upset when she said this to me. I felt that she had no right to tell me what I am not, when I know what I am.. When she saw me as being an Indian.. Her version was considered me looking exactly like an Indian, wearing the clothing that they wear. And speaking in an language that was understood by her. I know that Indians come in many forms of the way that they look. I have been asked by many people if I was Cherokee or am I from the Philippines? I have very jet black hair, and the skin complexion that resembles a trace of mixed heritage. You can look at me and tell that I have a mixed heritage in me. My cousin told me that I was mixed with Indian. All my life I thought that I was African American. That is what I have been taught to know. I have been asked by many people if I was mixed in my race? I told them no, because that is what I thought.. Then I always wondered about my grandmother that passed away several years ago. This was my daddy's mother. She looks just like an Indian. She has the high cheekbones, And she has very beautiful silky jet black hair, that I find very uncommon in the African American culture. Her skin complexion is very much similar to an Indian. Her mom used to live in a teepe. I was told that her mom hair was so long that when she was sitting in a chair, her hair was sitting on the floor.. It was just that long. Well, when I was in sixth grade, my hair was very long. I remember sitting on my hair. So, now I a wondering who am I? I still put on my race as being African American. This is another entire subject that I must get situated. When this woman made this remark to me, I felt like I was being discriminated very much. I felt like she was telling me that I am a fake, and that I am not what I say that I am. I know that this sounds crazy.. But, I felt that my heritage was attacked. It did make me feel very bad... When it should not have.. When my grandmother died, there were relatives of her that came to her funeral, and they were dressed just like the real Indians were dressed in India. The women had on silk wraps, and they had very long hair.. They were very pretty.. The men were handsome, wearing black and white dressy clothing. They did not look like like they were from America. They looked like they were from another country.. From what society would see.. I really am not trying to let her words effect who I may truly be. Please don't take this discussion as me being mean or vindictive. I really don't know if I am the race that I say that I am. I may could be an Indian and not know it.. I was taught that I am an African American. I have been looked at very curiously by many people of different racial back grounds.. It is like they see something that they know, or is very familiar with. I know that there are many people that say that they are mixed with another racial heritage, but they don't look anything like they say they they are. And I do know that in some cases this is very untrue. They can have an heritage and not look like it at all. Like my sister-in-law.. She says that her grandmother is mixed with white and Indian, but she does not look like she has any Indian culture in her at all. I told her that I was mixed with Indian, and she seemed to get highly offended. She came back at me with the words, well, my daddy's grandmother is mixed with Indian... But, she looks like she is pure African American. She even has coarse hair like an African American. My point to this older woman is this... If, I resemble an Indian, then maybe I have an Indian heritage in me.. If she can see no traces what so ever of the Indian heritage in me, then I may not be an Indian.. Then, I may just have Indian roots that runs in my family, similar to what my sister-in-law has..
1 person likes this
12 responses
@camomom (7536)
• United States
17 Nov 08
I wouldn't worry about what anyone says about you heritage. You need to research it and find out exactly what you are. All that is important is that you know what and who you are.
1 person likes this
@williamjisir (22903)
• China
17 Nov 08
Hello cream. Your discussion reminds me of Obama, with fifty percent white and fifty percent black. I don't agree with people saying that Obama is black since he is mixed with blood from a white mother and a black father. From his case, it can be seen that people pay more attention to their outer appearance instead of their mixed blood and race. It is not scientifically correct in this sense. Take care, cream.
1 person likes this
@hildas (3031)
16 Nov 08
Sorry about your day. This older woman has annoyed you. Did she look down on you or raise her voice? Sometimes it is hard to know if we are being made fun off or being discriminated as some people show things in really odd ways. It is hard to say if she actually liked you or was being racist or not. You would Know best on her tone of voice, but do not let this upset you too much. Just forget about her.
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
16 Nov 08
for goodness sakes don't let some silly old women who probably knows nothing about it to start with upset you like that. just be proud of yourself. your background shouldn't matter that much. we all have different family history i'm sure. i don't know anything about mine like i should but i sure don't worry about it. i'm just me & you can take it r leave it, makes no difference to me. i hate racism, i think it's is stupid & people just show their ignorance when they act like that. hold your head high & be proud of yourself. i'm sure u are a very nice person. i have seen u on here w/your discussions.
1 person likes this
@kellyjeanne (1576)
• United States
16 Nov 08
It must have felt good to learn your true heritage, cream! I'm glad for you! The woman was definitely rude. She had no right to tell you that you weren't what you say you are. It reminds me of a few years back when I told some man that I'm Sicilian and he said that can't be because my skin isn't dark enough. I mean, I could not believe he was arguing with me about this. How would he have known what my heritage is? I thought that he was very rude. I have light olive color skin. The lightest in my family. Just because my skin is light doesn't mean that I'm not Sicilian. So, I know exactly where you're coming from. Some people are just idiots! Purrs, Catwoman=^..^= & Mija You can call me Cat or Catwoman=^..^= :)
1 person likes this
@rvangeld (334)
• United States
16 Nov 08
I believe that if you felt that the comment was racially bias towards you, then I feel that you are validated. I believe that a person has every right to feel the way they feel in any situation.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Nov 08
I dont wanna sound biased as well.. But for me it was just pure misunderstanding,, SHe might not even aware that she hurt you in some way. MAybe she was trying to say that you don't look like an indian FOR HER.. and suddenly realized that you have resemblance of an indian. so it was just pure opinion I think. And you should not feel bad about it :)
1 person likes this
• Kottayam, India
16 Nov 08
better to avoid this woman and also any racial talk, this may lead to many confusions
1 person likes this
@myklj999 (13969)
16 Nov 08
If you wear born in American of American parents, then to me you are an American, not an African-American. People should take pride in who they are and not worry so much who their ancestors were. Just how I feel about the whole "racial" thing. If you prefer to list yourself by some racial stereotype, be my guest.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
16 Nov 08
Here is what I want to be known as from now on...... Native-Rom-Female-Disabled-Queen-Beatch-Goddess-American How does that work for you? Works for me!
@myklj999 (13969)
16 Nov 08
Do you mind if I just shorten it to "American Goddess"? It's easier to remember and doesn't take as long to type.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
16 Nov 08
I don't know I kinda favor QBG -
@Lindalinda (4112)
• Canada
16 Nov 08
Please don't say "we was talking" was is only used with I was, he was, and she was. There is no we was. As to the subject of your discussion I really don't see where the racism comes in. But then I did not hear her tone of voice. Sometimes the tone of voice tells everything. Now, if you are concerned or curious about your heritage lots of libraries and archives have a geneological service. Many times this is free of charge. These people are very helpful and teach people how to research their ancestry. Good luck.
• Canada
16 Nov 08
Oh my dear, you are so right, come to think of it that was not a nice thing to do. I apologize.
@cream97 (29168)
• United States
16 Nov 08
We were talking.... Is the better for a more suitable grammar phrase?
@cream97 (29168)
• United States
16 Nov 08
that
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
17 Nov 08
The fact that you say you didn't know you had indian in you till a cousin told you says that you probably don't have really strong indian features...perhaps some which would explain why ppl ask you about being mixed. If your comfortable listing yourself as African American then do that...I don't think they give you a choice of marking every different heritage you have in you. Be happy with all the parts that make up you...afterall, chances are no two ppl are made exactly 100% the same. I have Canadian, English and some Prussia (whereever that is). I don't worry about what all is mixed in my blood. I'm just happy that I know who my family is, I'm proud of who I am and if there's a little something different me then it just adds to me as a person. As for the woman...perhaps she couldn't see the Indian in you. She may have had to take a closer look to notice it. I'm surprised sometimes at what some ppl's heritage is b/c I don't see any trace of it in them or you have to look really closely to see it. [b]~~IN SEARCH OF PEACE WITHIN~~ **AGAINST THE STORMS, I WILL STAND STRONG** [/b]
• United States
16 Nov 08
Cream97, i don't think that she was being racially biased. i think that like you, she had received some new information, and she was just trying to wrap her head around it. she was just looking for the typical physical signs of the other heritage. i do this sometimes - i see couples with kids, and i try to figure out which features and mannerisms the kids received from each parent - if i see a single parent with an obviously multi-racial child - i try to figure out what the other parent may look like - it's simple curiosity, don't you think?