[Photo source: http://ja.treklens.com/gallery/photo116149.htm]
You have no idea how delighted I feel when I get emails from people (mostly Brown Girls) in countries outside of North America (well, maybe you do)! The whole idea of OneBrownGirl.com® is to share our stories and to consider how similar all of our experiences are, no matter where we live. So as you might imagine, when I received Jennifer's email, I was intrigued and excited: "Hi! I'm a big fan of the [OBG] site, and wanted to share my story with you," she wrote. Jennifer is a Brown Girl in Sweden. Cool.
I don't think I ever thought much about the color of my skin, since what mostly set me apart from others has been the languages that I speak – and my different cultural background. I am the product of at least two cultures – Argentinean and Swedish.
But I've never felt fully comfortable just classifying myself as white.
These last few years I’ve been thinking more and more about my heritage. I’ve studied, and still do, the history of América Latina. I’ve started to become aware of what I read – trying to focus more on female, Latina writers. All of this in a search of my cultural identity, of a label – perhaps – that I feel comfortable with.
I’ve been called so many names that I forget … Most of them are too ugly to remember anyway – and they have all had to do with me not being Swedish. I guess in this country we focus more on the countries than the skin color – although the color of one’s skin often tells that you are not from here. And I’ve often been reminded that I am not “from here”. That I don’t belong to the white, blonde ideal.
But look at me. My skin is a rainbow in itself – light beige, and green, and yellow and bronze. I carry within me different sets of cultures – stories from all over the world sleep inside me. I’m a part of this new world, where we have melted together into one great pot of differences and similarities.
Brown. Such a beautiful color - what a rainbow of nuances!
From the darkest chocolate, to the café con leche, to the beige.
No. I’m not white. I’m brown. I’m part of the cultural rainbow.
-Jennifer Turano Larancuent
Thanks for sharing, Jennifer!
With love from One Brown Girl to another...