Simone DiCristofano who identifies as a tri-racial woman shares a personal story when she was 20 years old about race and skin tone in the formation of identity.
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I am not just one part I am whole
My name is Simone DiCristofano, and this is my story: In school, or even outside of school, I have always been gawked at just because I looked different. I have thick long hair down to my waist, tan/medium skin, and almond, deep-set eyes.
People would always ask me what my race was, and I would always say “Human” I asked my Mom when I was younger what I was, then she told me her story and then my Father’s story.
Firstly my Father is full-blood Italian. And both of his parent’s roots were in Southern Italy. My Mother’s, on the other hand, is African and Blackfoot Native American.
She told me about her parents, which in fact both had Blackfoot Grandparents. This intrigued me even more. She also told me about how her Great Grandmother, how she used to speak in her native tongue, and how she was beautiful beyond belief.
When I look at my Mom, I really don’t see black, other than her skin. Everything else is all Native: her nose, her eyes, even her hair, stands out from other black women.
My Mother, also told me how in school people, other black students, would make fun of her looks because she wasn’t “black enough.” I compared my own situation to hers…how I was always looked at and probed…how I was never enough of anything because I was multiracial.
I felt so alone until I branched out into the Native American community and to other multiracial people who felt as I did and who weren’t accepted like I was. Even my Italian family, disowned me because I connected more with my Mom’s heritage than their own.
To me you can be a million things, a million different bloodlines intermingled into one, but if you don’t feel connected spiritually then you aren’t part of the circle. I feel and have always felt close with my Native AND Black side..and always will. But, that doesn’t mean I disown my Italian side.
I am three parts to one puzzle, and I fit together perfectly.
Now that I am twenty years old, I am still learning so much about my self and about my family’s history. I learned some words in my tribal language.
No, I am not just one part, I am a whole.
Releasing our ancestors stories as well as our own is a powerful experience that can serve as a form of liberation for other people and their ancestors who have had similar stories. That is the amazing thing about sharing stories…we soon realize we are not alone.
Story curated by Carlton Mackey, creator of 50 Shades of BLACK, in partnership with I Love Ancestry called featuring contemporary stories of people like YOU from around the world. Photo submitted by Simone DiCristofano.