Somewhere in between Nigeria and America

Cal in Color

I’ve often been told, “You look Black American, but I figured you weren’t. You don’t sound like them.” This statement, along with comments referring to my accent, my ability to speak English well and much more are what my life has been since I moved to the United States. I
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Model Minority

Cal in Color

Seared into my memory is the first time I fought with my friends. We were in ninth-grade world history when my friend offhandedly joked, “Yeah, but Rona’s Asian and has a big house, so she wouldn’t get what we’re going through.” “Excuse me?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
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Learning my ABCDs

Cal in Color

For most people, ABCD is the beginning of the English alphabet. But for American-Born, Confused Desis like me, it’s an acronym, an insult, a joke and an identity, all wrapped up in four letters. Calling me an ABCD invalidates my experience of being Desi, or a person of South Asian
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Only half

Cal in Color

When I was seven years old, my white uncle called me a worthless n-word in the middle of an argument. As I sobbed uncontrollably at my grandmother’s feet, I realized that racism can trump family. Being half- Black and half-white, I fall in between two identities. I realized then that
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Chasing dreams as a first-generation Pinay

Cal in Color

These spaces — spaces like UC Berkeley — were never created for people like me. Retention rates of Pilipinx students at UC Berkeley always frustrated me, but at times like these, I was numb to the idea of becoming a part of those statistics.
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The Lord ain’t my shepherd

Cal in Color

When I would ask about my absent dad, my mom would tell not me to worry, reminding me of my Heavenly Father watching over me from up above. I love you, Mom, but that’s crazy talk. I don’t want white Christ watching over me as much as I don’t want
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Breaking from tradition

Cal in Color

The family practices I saw on “Full House” and other American TV shows couldn’t apply to my own family because of our drastic cultural differences.
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Only I can write my narrative

Cal in Color

Even if I’m just waiting in line at Peet’s Coffee, I’m all too aware that as soon as a stranger sees my headscarf, they immediately identify me as the “the Muslim girl.”
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