When I was little, I wished hard for straight hair and tried to brush it out so I could have flippy Farrah Fawcett hair. When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be shorter. I was already five seven (173cm) and feared I wouldn’t stop growing. Then I’d be so tall that I’d never get married because I would tower all over them like the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk! In high school I wanted smaller bones and shoulders so I didn’t look like a prowrestler when I wore a strapless dress. When I was twenty-four, I made an appointment for a nose job so I could decrease the size of my Eastern European special (Polish from my mom and Czech from my dad). I wanted a tiny button doll nose. Now I like my scrunch-n-go curly hair. My nose is a hat-tip to my Slavic heritage.
After years of personal development, I accept who I am. I know that I can’t be something I’m not. Duh. Now….I don’t understand former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal‘s racial fraud and identity fabrication.
She stated, “I consider myself to be Caucasian biologically” and then later to Matt Lauer on the TODAY show, “I identify as black.” Huh?!
I don’t understand why someone championing for social justice and equity could hide behind spraytan blackface, pretending to be somebody she’s not. I embrace my Eastern European, Germanic, and Northern European roots.
When we all stand together as who we are as a united multicultural team, we are stronger than if we are in separate tiny factions. In diversity, there is lightning strong unity. Before I knew about the school-to-prison pipeline, the dropout crisis, and racial disproportionality in school suspensions, I had an excuse not to participate in the solution. Now, as a teacher who has worked with long-term suspended students, youth at-risk, I cannot turn away. I have seen too much to hide in my little teacher box. I support equity and racial justice without pretending to be someone or something I am not.
Is there a problem in the world that bothers you? Maybe it’s something you just learned about. Maybe a still, small voice has nudged you for years to step up. Maybe it seems so awkward and doesn’t fit your paradigm. Maybe you saw something on CNN or YouTube or you were walking your cat and got an epiphany on the street corner. It doesn’t matter.
Be you and step forth into your cause. You are good enough.