Tuesday, November 10, 2009

clearing clouds

I’ve had twenty four professors at Fuller, only two of them women. 2 out of 24. This is bad, well, for a number of reasons, one of them being that it’s important for women to have female mentors and role models. Which is obvious. So I’ve been frustrated here in that regard.

But it only just occurred to me that I miss having role models or mentors of my own racial background. I hadn’t really thought of it because I’m so unused to the idea of anyone having the same racial background as me (other than my siblings). I know only one person outside my family who is of half European, half Asian descent (and he’s half Filipino, not half Chinese).

But now at Fuller I’ve had two biracial professors: one Caucasian and Salvadorean; another Swiss and Lebanese.

I was surprised to realize how much this matters to me. For some reason, it doesn't matter what mixture of races they are--just meeting someone else who is biracial is a happy occasion. And taking a class from someone admirable in Christian faith and scholarship who happens to be biracial also--that’s inspiring, that’s encouraging. Heck, they even kind of look like me in being--how to put it--whitish? Off white? Sort of Caucasian looking but not exactly.

I guess I'm one of those glass-half-empty people. Unlike one of my brothers who has said he thinks of himself as "both/and," I see myself as "neither/nor." And my perception that I don’t fit the normative categories leaves me with a loneliness so pervasive I don’t even notice it most of the time.

but the clouds begin to clear
I see two stars
the ground feels firmer

1 comment:

Miranda said...

I only had 2 women professors at seminary, one of whom was generally regarded as, shall I say, not a favorite of anyone. The other was awesome.
As you know I am a Euro-mutt, with negligible connection to any racial heritage to speak of, which is lame in its own way, but I really can't identify with what it means to you to be bi-racial. But I'm glad you have found professors with whom you can identify in that regard and I hope they affirm and strengthen you in the direction of both/and.