This I Believe

Mariza - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: race

Calahooka?

I do not believe that skin defines ones race. I now realize why I think this way; it is because my skin did not simply belong to a race. Growing up I never thought about what race I was, I figured I was white because my skin was light, looking at my mother who is only half white I also figured she was white not because of her skin but because of the way she grew up and our family’s culture. It wasn’t until I was at least ten when I saw my first movie dealing with the problems between races that I even realized my mother was mixed. Although I don’t remember what the movie was called I do remember being confused why different “races” were fighting each other. My next question of course was why had I never been aware of any of this? Now that I am older I see the true ugliness behind racial problems, ugliness, children should not be aware of. I realized from that point on that color doesn’t depict race and I wished others knew the same. The color of my mother’s skin did not matter; her dark skin did not change who she was in my eyes and I am pretty sure she was afraid it would. It is because of this that I do not believe skin defines ones race.

In 9th grade a buddy and I chatted on the subject of race and in one day made up our own. We called ourselves Calahookans, a made up race from the made up island of Calahooka. Although it seems silly, I understand why this made up race was so important to me. My friend and I are mixed with the same blood: Italian, German, African American, and Native American; neither of us really knew what race we belonged to and actually having a race made us feel like we belonged. Our society has made identity incomplete without knowing ones race– I believe our identities are not complete until we realize we are all one race, the human race. For those who did not know that the island of Calahooka doesn’t actually exist those people truly believed I was Calahookan.

These events with many others I am sure will come continue to shape my life and personality. Although I have never been racially discriminated against I know one day I will. Whenever that day does come I will not let others make me feel bad about myself because by attacking my race they are not actually attacking me. They would be attacking a concept in which I truly don’t believe exists and in which I do not define myself by. For those who do believe in race I wish they would understand the difference between nationality and race. In the past, nationality was the only concept that mattered– I have always wondered what changed. Because of all this I believe there is only one race, the human race.