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White Skin and Long Dark Brown Hair

Author: Elaine Abonal

White Skin And Long Dark Brown Hair

Growing up in the Philippines, I was always exposed to this idea of colonial mentality. See, we were colonized by Spain, the US, and other countries before we achieved our own independence. So basically, being “white” was to be cool. Or rich. Or important. Or what everyone else wanted to be.

Everyone ogled when they saw a white guy on the street. People thought you were somebody important if they saw you as friends or hanging out with one. And if you’re actually ‘half’ or are related to somebody from another country, well then, you’re above everyone else.

I have friends from around the world. I’ve met them through different parts and stages of my life and we look as different from each other as a Benetton ad. If there’s really one thing I’ve learned from all the people who have become part of my life, but don’t necessarily live next door to me, is that we are all the same. We are all made of the same elements. Sure each culture is different, but if you open up yourself and your eyes and your home, heck even you heart, you see that the person who speaks another language completely different from your own can be your own kindred spirit. Every person, regardless of skin color or hair shade, has dreams, and frustrations, and drama with their boyfriends or girlfriends, and secrets. Everyone has a story to share.

I always get the, “Oh Elaine you have so much white friends” comment – sometimes as a way of teasing, sometimes as a form of flattery, and even sometimes as a form of jealousy. What I feel most of the time though, is misunderstood.

I choose my friends, not by their skin color or how exotic their accent is from mine, but by how they treat me, how they treat other people, by how we get along, by their values and the way they see life. I don’t care if you look like a model that came out of the Ralph Lauren runway or forgot what a razor is after you’ve backpacked around the Philippine Islands or Europe. I don’t even care if you can write a perfect paragraph in English or can only speak straight Tagalog.

I know that some people just want to have a foreigner friend. Or a foreigner boyfriend. Okay, I get it. It seems cool. But at the end of the day, you see that a person isn’t made of what they look like but by who they are. It’s about sharing a joke or a language only you two can understand. It’s knowing that you’re way past the physical stuff and you know that the things you see on the outside really don’t say much about what’s in your heart.

The funniest thing is that the people I am closest to are the ones that live furthest away from me. Thank God for the internet for making they feel closer. But being misunderstood in a society where people think that you’re different just because you mingle with people from another country can get frustrating. It’s like sometimes, I myself am treated like a foreigner. That people can’t relate to me anymore. Truth is, I’m just like anyone else.

I am Elaine. I am a Filipina. I have tan skin and long dark brown hair. I know if you like me only because you think that combination looks exotic. I can detect bullshit. I am a mix of where I grew up and all the other new places I now call home. I have left myself and given bits of my heart to people I may never see again and I have brought them along with me. I know when you love for who I am. And I know when I love you too, not for what you look like, but for who you are.

WHAT I’M REALLY TRYING TO SAY IS, I hope people can get past the whole white skin thing or the traces of colonial mentality in the way they see other people. That French guy sitting next to you likes burger king as much as you do. That Australian wears his slippers more often than you do yours. That South African walking on the street?? He can eat as much balot, probably more, as you can in one sitting.

See past the skin and be proud of who you are.

Because love and friendship, baby, know no boundaries. ?

– Elaine Abonal

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Article Source: ArticlesBase.com – White Skin and Long Dark Brown Hair

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