Identity by Taadi Henderson

My name is Taadi Henderson, a 21-year-old black woman from South Central Los Angeles, CA, a city where it is a majority black and working-class city. Even though I lived where I would see people who looked like me everywhere, not during my early childhood years. 

I struggled with my identity as a black woman. I grew up in my early childhood years around very wealthy white people and was not exposed to many cultures including my own. I didn’t see people at my school who looked like me or related to me. I knew I was a black girl, and I always thought that, until I got to middle school. 

I was called “whitewashed” for many years. Many people thought I was not black enough. I was picked on and teased because of my hair, and I mentally struggled with these things being said about me. I tried so hard to prove my blackness, I cared about people’s opinions so I hid my natural hair for years, tried to change my personality, and felt completely lost. 

I know that I am black enough, and I don’t need to prove it. Being black is a part of my identity, and I am proud of it and would not change it. If people think I’m not, who cares? If I did, I would still be lost, and I can’t feel lost in an identity that I am proud of.

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