How ‘Off White’ Got It’s Name


Today a new found friend of mine mentioned something in a conversation that really stuck with me. We had been talking about interracial relationships and she mentioned a meeting to help her have the talk with her parents about her interracial relationship with her girlfriend.

I was like “Woah.”

I had never really viewed other people’s relationships to their parents as different from my own. I can honestly say that if I had brought a young white female into my home rather than a young white male, my parents would have treated them no different. In 2016 can this still be such a wild concept?

I grew up in household with a white, American mother and a black, Dominican father, white brothers and colored brothers. I often say this lead me to grow up color blind. The first thing I notice about a person isn’t the color of their skin, it’s the words they are saying or the things they are doing. And then, because of human nature, I may subconsciously note the color of their skin, but this doesn’t effect the thoughts and judgements I had prior for this person. Skin deep, they’re a person.

So my parents sent me off into the world, colorblind and  innocent. I had gone on for quite some time, full of that innocence and colorblindness, before I had been referred to as “an Oreo.” As I write this post I am still not sure how that’s supposed to make me feel. Being “white on the inside and black on the outside” doesn’t really make much sense to me. For starters, I’m just living my life, trying to not be a shitty person.  I thought I was acting normal, but here I was “acting white.” I had no clue the whole damn time.

I’ve never been offended when people have said this to me, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be. On the other hand, I have been judged racially from the other side (yes, the colored side) and I’m not sure how either situation is much different to be honest. As a freshman in college, I was once asked to leave a party because of the color of my skin. To my knowledge, everyone else at the party was the same color as me. Not skin deep, but literally. Although we grew under the same sun, my ancestors grew up on a different island, which at a college party is crucial. Needless to say I didn’t leave the party but still silently protest being on the outs of each side.

I think I once heard that humans resemble pack animals, meaning that we form in groups of people naturally. Even if I didn’t hear it, it still makes sense; families, communities, government, countries, you get it? We kinda just all group together, by nature. Anyways, this allows people to take pride in something — where they’re from. Since 2005, I’ve heard — in simplest terms — that I am of one group but act like I belong in another group. So basically I spent the last eleven or so years of my life trying to figure out what group I’m supposed to be apart of and today I decided I don’t want to be a part of either of them.

I don’t want to live in a society where people have to worry about the color or sexual orientation of their partner when introducing them to their parents. I don’t even think that should something people still have to discuss. I don’t want to be the type of person that encourages stereotyping and generalizing groups of people, is it so crazy for so many people to have something in common? How different the world would be if we were judgmental of people for their eye color rather than their skin color. Ugh, the chaos.

So, to answer the question how did ‘Off White’ get it’s name? I’d like to refer back to prior paragraph where I stated:

I thought I was acting normal, but there I was “acting white.” I had no clue the whole damn time.

This is an actual text to someone that I had once sent while on the topic of my race. They said “You sound and act white but you’re skin isn’t, you’re off-white.” I then responded, ” So I’m American?” They said “Off-white sounds better,” and I concluded, “That’s going to make me rich one day.”

Until next time,

xxo Bri


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