Growing Up Black

I grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago, Englewood. It would that neighborhood that I had my first experience of being black.

My mother had a caramel-brown colored skin tone. My grandmother (one my mother's side) had straight hair and a lighter skin-tone complexion. She repeatedly would be mistaken for being white.

My grandmother is the second woman from the left (wearing glasses) and my mother (center stage).

I turned out to have a lighter skin complexion as well.

All the way through grade school, I was constantly being called "white boy" by my school peers. I was in constant defense of my black heritage by my own race.

This experience developed the understanding of what racism really feels like.

Even today, I'm being subjected to the stigmatization of being born black.

theblognovice theblognovice
46-50, M
2 Responses Aug 16, 2012

I was born & raised in Chicago. I know exactly what you're talking about, when it comes to living in Englewood. Have a friend that grew up there and couldn't wait to get out. I'm shocked to find out that you were picked on because of your "lighter" skin color. I never knew that would be a problem. I have family members (daughter, sister and cousins) that are with black men. Some light skinned than the others. That's never been a problem with us. We've accepted them as they are. Racism sure does suck.

I understand exactly where your coming from. I also have a light complexion and have been called "white". Although my hair will tell you a different story. Its more than dissapointing to have your own people be this way toward you. I have also found that being of a light complextion and being black no one excepts you, not the whit nor the black.