Being a White Passing POC
At first that sounds contradictory. Why wouldn't it? But we're very real. In this post I will be talking about who white passing POC, namely white passing Native Americans.
Historically, Native Americans have been treated like shit, and no one even cares. 1/3 of Native American women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Many have been raped. It's that very oppression, namely sexual violence, that is responsible for the large amounts of white passing Native Americans.
It's common for white men to objectify Native American women, and it was extremely common for Native American women to be raped by white men, and get pregnant. Far more common than consensual pregnancies. Due to this, a large amount of biracial Native Americans were born.
There is another phenomenon present, one that shouldn't involve Natives but it does. People want oppression points. Being a white-passing POC is something where most people won't know if you're lying or not, and that's been exploited beyond belief. Due to the influx of white people claiming Native heritage, actual white passing Natives are all treated like fakers.
I myself am partially Native American. It's an important part of my identity, and has shaped most, if not all, of my views on ownership, animals, land, and respect. If it weren't for my Native American heritage, I would be a different person than I am today.
Despite that, my right to calling myself a Native is controversial. And I do understand that, somewhat. I will not face the systematic oppression that still affects many natives today, and I acknowledge that and do not speak on what I haven't experienced.
However, people still restrict my right to my heritage as a whole. And it hurts. What is is is stripping an integral part of me, ultimately saying I can't be me.
What makes someone Native American?
It is more than just oppression. We do not need to define ourselves by our trauma; we need to define ourselves by our culture. We were Native even when we were the majority; we were Native when we still had our land; we were Native when being Native was safe; we were Native before we had our culture stolen from us.
My identity is not a controversy. This is my identity, this is my blood, and I will not apologize for calling myself what I am. I am Native American.