16-year old, black teen, Treasure, believes she is Caucasian. How can a black person deny their race when they are visibly black one may ask? According to this teen, she is Caucasian because everything about her differs from African Americans. This distinction stems from her “not nappy” hair texture, her nose, which she says is “not giant, like African Americans.” Her lips, that are “perfect”, and her Caucasian ears that are the complete opposite of “giant” African American ears. Treasure stands firm in her walk in life as a Caucasian person as she distances herself from “ghetto” speaking and “criminal” thinking African Americans who are all “below” her.
Take a look at this video..
That was A LOT. before we release our opinions on this dangerous mindset, I believe it is imperative to analyze what role Treasure’s parents played in her life.
Our Parents are our first teachers of life. They are our introduction to socialization. Through experience and behavior they help shape our self-esteem and cultural identity.
Treasure’s mother, a black woman, enabled her daughter to believe that her late husband, who was a Caucasian man was her biological father. It was not until his passing, that she decided to tell her daughter the truth that her only known father was not her biological dad. What effect did this devastating news have on Treasure? In my opinion, it caused a true identity crisis.
What we are witnessing is cognitive dissonance, lack of exposure, and self hatred. As humans, we strive to be consistent. Have you ever been to the supermarket and realized that they moved the cereal to a different aisle? Or do you have a love interest that you are getting to know that does not call when they say they will call nor text back? Annoying and uncomfortable right? Well, this feeling of discomfort is what this 16 year old teen is struggling with. Her identity as a mixed girl was stripped from her, and the white father that she knew and adored is gone–physically and psychologically.
Treasure hence, begins to act in a manner that strives on make things more consistent. By rejecting black people, Treasure feels a closeness to whiteness, which she associates with the consistency she once had in her life. Furthermore, by rejecting her blackness she is subconsciously distancing herself from the inconsistent person in her life– her mother. Treasure’s mother lied to her about who she is. That trauma has enabled Treasure to develop a Rejection of identity which I believe is a coping mechanism.
Treasure’s low self esteem is also a result of lack of exposure. How many powerful black women do you think she knows? Probably not many or none. How many black role models can you imagine she has been given exposure to? This is why REPRESENTATION MATTERS.
What difference does the representation of someone like yourself make? Representation encourages children’s cultural and ethnic pride. Pride, in return, is associated with self-esteem– How we feel about our race, our ethnicity, but most importantly how we feel about ourselves.
All in all, before I am able to criticize Treasure’s dangerous mindset, I can first pity her ignorance. Her ignorance to her identity, her lack of representation, and her ignorance toward her own ethnic heritage.