Addressing The Open Secret

I am not half Chinese, but my (German) grandmother was. It is the kind of open secrets that people usually do not dare to touch. I only found out after my mother (my half-Chinese grandmother's daughter) died.  - My grandmother was the daughter of a Chinese salesman (she even knew his name and where he was from), and her mother was married to a German physician at the time. Her entire life was overshadowed by her fear of being "found out", and of exposing her mother, who died when she was only eight years of age and whom she loved very much. I only found out when flicking through my mother's papers that my grandmother believed that everybody would spot her immediately as an Asian - while I had absolutely no clue that that's what she was. And I think that hardly any stranger thought of her as an Asian. - My mother had moved away from the small town where her (German) family came from some time before I was born, so I do not know how much of the open secret is known there, and how much my mother knew herself. My mother used to refer to herself as being visibly of Russian / Slavic origins. - The very odd thing is that my father's family is (visibly) from North Africa, and that I believed that I nonetheless must be white because I used to compare myself to my German grandmother, thinking: If she is white, so am I. - I am not white, I had a very tough time because people believed that I was denying my African heritage. But I did not consciously deny anything. I used to look at my German grandmother, thinking with a feeling of resignation: She is darker than I, so how do I dare to think that I am not 100% European? (I have very curly hair, but I believed: My curls alone do not make me an African.) I had no idea that my grandmother lived in constant fear of her neighbors because of the racism she had to face on a day-to-day basis. - I have to add, my grandfather was a Nazi, and he was constantly bullying my grandmother, naming her "hysterical" and "crazy". However, my grandmother was the contrary, she was calm, she was the rock of the family, despite the tough circumstances she lived in and despite the fact that her children either betrayed or exploited her. I used to believe that this was typical for Nazi families, but I am realizing now that I have to rethink my views. I think that my grandmother did not divorce him because a) you did not do this in a German small town at the time, and b) she believed that things would get even worse for her if she would leave.
skshish skshish
Aug 7, 2010