short stories

Mulatto

 “Are you black or white?”  The teacher asked.

This is a question I get asked daily- a stupid question, but a question that strikes people’s curiosity.

“Are you black or white?”  He repeated.

“I’m black,” I said slowly.

“No, you’re not!” said a black girl in the back of the class, “You can’t be black.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because you don’t know nothing about being black for the reason that black is more than just a color of skin, it is a culture that many people do not understand. Also, it is a community that many cannot be a part of because they don’t know the pain and the triumph that goes along with the history of being black. You can’t be black since you don’t understand the hardships that go along with being an African- American in today’s society,” said the black girl.

“Well, then I’m white,” I said.

“You can’t be white,” said the boy in the front of the class.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because one of your parents are black so therefore you will never be white, you can only be black  for the reason that is how society will view and treat you,” said the boy.

I started to get confused about my identity and who I really was.

“Then what am I?” I asked.

“You are mulatto,” said the teacher.

“Am I mulatto?” I thought, “Am I just a word used to describe an offspring of an African slave and a person of the Caucasian race.   Am I a derogatory term that comes with hurt and pain from two different groups of people who will never accept me as a person, but a word?   Am I a term that expresses to others that I can never be black enough to be African- American and never white enough to be Caucasian?”

“I don’t want to be mulatto,” I said.

“Then what do you want to be?” said the teacher.

“Can I just be both black and white?” I asked.

The teacher laughed. “No, you have to pick a side”

I looked at my teacher with despair.

“So, answer the question again, but these times choose a side,” said the teacher. “Are you black or white?”

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