Identity Crisis by Nathan Pray

The word “half’ isn’t something you would think would cause an issue, since there are many things related to the word half. Yet for me, the word half has caused me pain for 18 years creating an identity crisis.


We all know classic battles like red vs blue, pancake vs waffles or dark vs light. Unfortunately, I take the dark vs light battle quite too literally, black vs white, it’s so bad that I’m at the point where it ends with both sides losing and making a product I don’t recognize, realizing that Hannah Montana got it wrong I do not have “the best of both worlds.”


When I was younger I never paid attention to small details like random people touching my hair and asking if it’s real, asking if that’s really my mom or dad or assuming I’m lost since I don’t look like them. I always thought this was normal until the day I had to take my permit test.


The test went smooth cause I’m smooth wit it, but when it came to asking what my race was I could only pick one. This time I had to choose a side in the constant turmoil inside my own mind that I’ve been repressing so much I am just now talking about it. I pleaded with a person to put black and white but with careful thinking and living with a fear of being pulled over I was convinced to pick white yet, I can’t pass for that which resulted in my “black side” losing.


This hellish battle carries on at home when my dad asks me if I’m finally getting in touch with my roots when watching a show with an all black cast or when my moms family calls me their “little monkey” yet I don’t climb or eat bananas. I had settled down the war within myself when I employed code switching, something I’ve done subconsciously and something I just learned the name of. This method forces me to avoid being who I am to please those around me such as: the proper and polite man when in the suburbs and having to adopt “black culture’ when I go down to visit my dad’s side so I don’t act “white.”


But once again I am having to choose sides. I can’t just easily become myself with both sides united making the black and the white to perfectly mix into such a lovely looking gray-which is seen as a drab color so that didn’t work out.


So, for certain people I’ll stick with code switching until my two halves can become one united front, like red and blue making a luxurious purple or a waffle and pancake coexisting making a dope breakfast.


Luckily, I have people who I don’t need to code switch around, with them I am the great Hermione Granger who excels while being a mix of human and wizard, I will be the sweet and savory combination that is peanut butter and jam I will be Nathan Pray! But for now I’m stuck on the battlefield realizing I am too white for the black community and too black for the white community fighting alone in the gray community.