Raised in a white family, Sarah Valentine was told her “olive” skin color came from her Italian-American mother, who denied she was adopted. As an adult, she learned her biological father was black. “I began the difficult process of changing my identity from white to black,” she writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“Coming out” as black cost me my relationship with my mother and some of my closest friends. It cleaved my sense of self in two.
. . . “You’re making a big deal out of nothing,” my mother said when I tried to impress on her the seriousness of what I was going through. “It’s only important if you choose to make it important.”
. . . In my family, it was understood, even if it was never directly stated, that only people of color “had” race; whites were just people.
Valentine is now an English professor.
I think anyone who discovered they were adopted at 27 would have identity issues.
I know a man who refuses to identify by race or ethnicity because it would deny the importance of his adoptive parents. Of course, they didn’t lie to him.