Categories
Coming-of-Age Identity Multiracialism Whiteness

How to Be Beige

I was wearing my best polo shirt, baggy jeans, and gold hoops on the first day of high school. It was the perfect outfit for a ninth grader at the large New Jersey school I should have been attending, surrounded by all of my childhood friends, but a terrible choice for the suburban New England […]

Categories
Coming-of-Age Identity

What’s in a Name?

I am Aniefre Essien, a man born and raised in the South L.A. neighborhood of Harbor City. Essien is somewhat known in sports circles after the rise of Ghanaian soccer superstar Michael Essien (which also happens to be my oldest brother’s name). The name Essien is found commonly among Nigerians from the southeast part of […]

Categories
Identity Interviews Social Justice

I, Too, Am B-CC

Orlando Pinder is a Maryland-based high school student and the filmmaker behind the short documentary, I, Too, Am B-CC. The video features students of color from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, just outside Washington, D.C., and follows in the footsteps of the I, Too, Am Harvard project, which interviews black students in predominantly white schools. I recently got to talk […]

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Identity Media

Change I Can Believe In: On Media Bias

There are some things in media that I believed would never change. If I’m watching TV and I check out the Knicks game, it is likely they’ll lose. They’ve been losing my entire life. But what things in the media sphere can we change? While not always on display, my natural hair is a beautiful […]

Categories
Coming-of-Age Identity

Black in Alabama

Mine is the story of a boy who spent his childhood summers becoming black in Alabama, wrestling dirt in the whispering winds of Wetumpka out back of a one-room shack in which his great grandmother raised 15 children. It is the story of a boy who spent time with an old man, fishing the broken […]

Categories
Identity Social Justice Whiteness

On Appropriateness and Appropriation

My fellow white men, Ferguson was insane. Back then, I split my time between New York City and North Florida, so I was able to witness two very different communities responding. Predictably, the white, male, cisgendered group (of which many of us are part) in Florida substantively crushed the myth of post-racism in modern society. […]

Categories
Black Family Identity Sexuality

Sundays With My Grandmother

I woke up on Sunday morning in my grandmother’s apartment, smelling the steam that came from my ironed dress pants that hung on the wall. I could hear the loud voice of Pastor Joel Osteen on the television preaching about forgiveness and the goodness of God. “By the glorious grace of God” or “Turn to […]

Categories
Awareness Coming-of-Age Identity Segregation

Together, We Are Better

My mother and father grew up in segregation. Mickey and Miami have fooled people into thinking otherwise, but Florida is and always was a Southern state. My father was born during the Baby Boom and lived in a shotgun house on the brother side of Jacksonville, the youngest of four siblings. His older brother, Julian, made […]

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Editor's Picks Identity Travel

Going Native

“Where you from?” the driver asks in Spanish after a few minutes in the air-conditioned cab. He had picked me up on the corner near my apartment, sweating under the morning sun in my khakis and button-down dress shirt with the sleeves rolled-up to the elbow. He is running me to the university, but it […]

Categories
African Diaspora Identity

Crisis of Identity

My first identity crisis came with my Haitian background: both of my parents are Haitian and I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I experienced a lot of negative stereotypes and taunts—Haitian Booty Scratcher, Haitians smell, their socks don’t match—and decided to embrace my American-ness while denying my Haitian-ness. All that changed on […]