Black Woman Who Looks White Reveals The Shocking Things White People Tell Her
A Black woman who looks white has opened up about racism and the horrible things ‘white people feel safe’ telling her.
Both of Miriam Zinter’s parents are Black, and both have white ancestors. As a result of those recessive white genes, she was born with very light skin, blue eyes and wavy, light hair.
Only a few weekends ago, she was gardening when a neighbour questioned the Black Lives Matter sign in her front garden. ‘This isn’t the first time I’ve had to have this conversation. Encounters like this have been going on for a very long time for me,’ she said.
In a new piece for the HuffPost, Zinter talks about her experience as a Black woman who presents as a white woman. ‘Why do you have a Black Lives Matter sign on your front lawn when all those people do is kill each other?’ the neighbour asked her. ‘You know I’m Black, right?’ she replied.
An ‘uncomfortable conversation about racism’ quickly followed after he learned both her parents are Black, explaining her father’s struggles growing up and even as a veteran.
‘And I told him how Black Lives Matter calls attention to the fact that Black people are considered less than white people ― and that needs to stop. I also told him if people don’t understand that Black lives matter, Black people will continue to be murdered by the police and denied opportunities by the establishment,’ Zinter wrote.
Before Zinter went to kindergarten, her parents spoke to her ‘about being Black in a world run by white people, where white people make the rules. In order to survive, let alone thrive, you need to know you are Black and know what that means, even if you present as white’.
‘My kindergarten teacher did not feel it was appropriate for a Black child to learn and play with white children. She left me inside the classroom on my own while the other students played. I stood by the window and cried. My parents complained to the principal – a child of Italian immigrants – and he stepped in,’ she continued.
Later in life, when she was in middle school, she recounted a number of troubling instances: a history teacher taught students how to really insult Black people; and a student coming dressed as a klansman for Halloween, even bringing a noose.
‘White people think I am white too, and therefore feel safe saying all kinds of horrible things they might not say publicly. I’ve had people tell me it ‘disgusts’ them to see interracial couples. They’ve told me they don’t understand why Black neighbourhoods look so ‘ghetto’ and that Black people are ‘animals’ or ‘thugs’,’ she wrote.
‘Many of these people are educated, and hold jobs or positions that give them some form of power or influence over Black people. They are doctors, judges, lawyers, social workers and politicians. That’s frightening.’
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