Written By: Kareena C.
Edited by: R.A.C.
A while back someone suggested that I watch a documentary on Netflix called Little White Lie, directed by Lacey Schwartz and James Adolphus. It sounded pretty interesting so I took the time one afternoon to watch it. The documentary, is about filmmaker Lacey Schwartz unraveling her family’s secret and discovering her heritage in the process. In the film, Lacey describes how it was growing up in a white household but always feeling different and out of place with her darker skin and thicker hair. She highlights the trials and tribulations she faced growing up, confronts the truth about who she really is, and how she finally came to accept herself.
In the past, my thought process was that people who were biracial had a much easier time being accepted into society. However, once I started speaking with more people who identify as biracial, my thought process has changed.
Complex emotions and issues, such as feeling out of place in your surroundings, can be a constant battle when you’re biracial. Sometimes this can create an identity crisis, or that feeling of never really fitting in with any one group. For example, one may experience conjecture from the black community when you’re not “all” black because the perception is, there is an “invisible backpack of privileges” attached to your appearance. Another issue could be that your blackness goes unacknowledged in the white community because it may cause uneasiness if the topic was brought up about your black background. When you feel like you don’t belong to one group of people, you struggle to find out where you do belong, as manifested in the documentary. Nonetheless, no one should ever be considered “half” of a person when they’re whole.
We all want to be accepted and acknowledged. We seek acceptance from our parents, teachers, our peers and the people with whom we are intimate. Though, the person we want acceptance from the most is ourself.
Self-acceptance is very gratifying, yet we don’t often realize this fact until much later in life. This is usually after we’ve struggled with trying to get everyone else to accept us. Being able to identify your most authentic self, can be very valuable and easily achieved with a little introspection and a bit of self-discovery. This journey can be an interesting and beautiful one. I urge everyone to try it!
When I asked beautiful Chloe and her best friend, Josie to be interviewed and photographed for my pictorial documentary, I didn’t expect some of the answers from Chloe that follow below. Since it was the day before they both went off to college, it seemed fitting that the theme of our photoshoot be about just that. Life University set the backdrop for this event. Ultimately, college is where our young women and men are encouraged to become more self-aware. That’s where Lacey learned to love and accept herself for who she is.
Self-awareness and thinking differently is what will shape our future for a better tomorrow.
How old are you and what is your biggest goal? I’m 19 years old, a student at GSU, and my biggest goal would probably be to become bilingual, and to be able to completely support myself on my own and be comfortable with who I am and why I am that way.
What has your natural hair journey been like? My hair journey has been a long one – my hair has been natural since I was born, so my mom tried every product under the sun to see what would work with my hair. I didn’t really find good products and a process that worked well for my hair until I started doing it myself, when I was about 12 years old.
I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my hair, but as I grow I love it more and more.
When I was little I kept it in a ponytail and didn’t think my hair was pretty. I was like that for a while, which was hard sometimes.
I didn’t think my hair was pretty because I didn’t really grow up with other girls who had hair like me. I was raised in an all white family, and most of my friends were white too. The black friends I did have mostly kept their hair relaxed or in protective styles – no one just wore it out like me.
Growing up the way I did, I always felt out of place because my blackness and my hair were either acknowledged in a way that didn’t make me feel good, or they weren’t acknowledged at all and were ignored.
None of the people I looked up to, like my favorite singers or actors, looked like me or had hair that was similar to mine. So, I didn’t really have anyone that made me feel like my hair was pretty and that I wasn’t alone.
But, I remember the day I first felt sexy and beautiful with my curls; I was on the beach, playing in the ocean with some friends, and my hair was down and my skin was glowing – for some reason I just felt so great!
I love my hair now, even though it’s pretty temperamental…sometimes I still go for my quick and easy ponytail if my hair isn’t cooperating.
What’s your go to style? My go-to style is a twist out – they work really well with my hair type and I love the curl pattern they give me!
What’s your least favorite compliment or things you wish people would stop saying? I wish people would never say “How did you get your hair like that?”, “You have Good Hair” or “Is that your real hair?” because it implies that I can’t just have hair that is different than the hair that whoever is asking has. Thinking that my hair is pin straight and “normal” until I “do something to it” is uncomfortable and makes me feel like my hair is something weird and unusual…or one of my least favorite words, “exotic” (yuck!)
If You were a natural hair super hero what would your name be? Twisted Honey – watch out for my twist out!