Blood rising to the surface of my cheeks as I’ve felt the burning pain of this question. Strangely I hope my brownness would mask my shame and hurt in those moments. Because if I could be too brown to blush, the sharp knife that is those careless words could penetrate but not give away that it’s entered my soul and shattered it.
The answer to that question would never come easily, and would seldom come in words. It’s the churning sensation in my stomach; the bad butterflies, when my otherness is so callously pointed out to me. Your mother is white, are you adopted? Why don’t you look like her? Why is your dad so black? Why don’t you look like him?
Trying to find home in people who didn’t have the capacity to love me, who could never truly hold me for who I am, because maybe if my white partners could love me or see me as beautiful, I’d be enough. Or I was passing well enough? I didn’t want to be brown; I tried to crush it with everything at my disposal.
‘I can’t be racist, my girlfriend is black.’ Yes, yes you can, and the damage you do in your complacency is unforgivable and far-reaching.
Displacement runs deeper than this question - where are you from? I don’t know. It isn’t here. But I know that half of me is in Ghana, and these feelings of being unable to sit still or exhale won’t subside until my feet touch the earth there.