At the base of the mountain

Quarter-page zine... so there is some cutting involved if you print it.

Saying that my mother is white feels like a confession when I’m surrounded in a group of people of Color. I try to unload myself-racial identity early in the conversation otherwise it will weigh down the edge of my tongue and make my speech sound like a lie to my ear. I typically mention this, “well, my mom’s white,” as the context for my experience of race. I mention it in passing as a way of assuaging one, how it feels in my mouth as I spit it out and two, how I imagine it feels on their ears. Let’s get it done quick-ly. I’m an invader until that moment; as though my skin, my hair, my eyes, my body were a costume from when I walk in the door until the punctuation mark that ends that troublesome statement of fact. I feel guilty (rightly) for my proximity to whiteness and the privilege, with which I live, speak and think as a result.
But this doesn’t happen very often for me. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Most of my friends are white, most of my classmates are white, most of my teachers, co-workers and housemates are white. When I’m surrounding by a group of white people, I still feel like an invader. I hear comments that hint at white supremacy and I’m tired of explaining the white privilege institutionalized by the culture, in which we live, why “no, I don’t think your joke is funny,” constantly maneuvering through the achromatic crowds, and the insincerity of being labeled a minority representative in a color-blind room. I’m tired of even having the frequent occasion to explain racism, because I’m the brown kid and all the white kids want to “understand” and “be aware.” I’m tired of the responsibility that is not mine, but is put upon me every day.
As I intersect more with other people’s identities I understand more and more that my identity is mine and it is not up for public dissection. I understand in part why I feel an urgency to tell people of Color about my exact identity, because more often than not they have tongues that too need unloading. I feel tired, because with white people it’s so one-way.
This zine focuses on the relationship between my race, family and daily interactions. This is a thorough confession, not an explanation.

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