"You're not like other black girls."
"What are you, an Oreo?"
"You speak very intelligently for a black girl."
"You're not black enough."
Growing up, I wasn't afraid of who I was - I was this outgoing, spirited little girl who would do her best to make sure that everyone felt as though they belonged. I remember dancing my heart out in kindergarten, I remember forcing my friend to join me because she was the quiet one. I remember getting reports home like, "Diara helped this person today!" or "Diara went out of her way to make someone else feel like they fit in!" or even, "Diara loves to sing around the classroom and have fun".
This idea of an excited and fun girl continued up until middle school. I remember hanging out with a varied group of friends, from white to Hispanic to Asian, but there was one problem. I was the only black girl. I never saw this as a problem, I was still the fun-loving and eccentric girl that I had always been. But everyone around me seemed puzzled by this current situation. "Shouldn't you be sitting with the other table? You know, with the black kids? Don't you want to be with your own kind? You're the whitest black person I ever met." I would hear these things and brush the negativity off when it reality it was getting to me.
Then, sophomore year hit. I was going to a new school (a predominantly white one) and I would reinvent myself as a new person. I was going to be the blackest I could ever be! This plan later failed when I joined the theatre program and soon realized that I was the only African-American person in the bunch. All the other African-Americans were "only good at" sports and failing classes. I was looked at as being even more of a minority.
This only dug me into a deeper hole than the one that I was in. My family didn't help much. I was always the one being projected as, "She gets good grades! She's passing all of her classes! She's applying to scholarships." My aunts, uncles, mother, and father all seemed to hold me above my cousins and brother. I was seen as a good example of what you should do in school. Have you ever witnessed your whole family (people your age) turn against you? Soon I was the quietest one within my entire family. Everyone else seemed to shut me away like I was the recluse. I think that was the breaking point of me. I didn't know where I was to fit in. My family, a group of all African-Americans, kind of turned me away.
So as of right now, I don't know where I fit in anymore. I'm too black to fit in with a certain crowd and then not black enough to fit in with another. I honestly just wish I could join both of the worlds together and show that I'm much more than just my skin tone. I can speak eloquently and be reserved, but I can also get angry and "let my blackness come out". I just wish the world as a whole didn't judge, didn't put this notion in people's heads that you have to be in this group because you all look similar. I wish I could do something to show that I matter just as much as anyone else. That I can be both sides of the coin, that I am an African-American woman and I am proud of it. I just want to know where I belong in the world.