EFFIE: A lot of immigrants are already struggling with so many things coming to this country, you know, assimilating to so many different aspects of life. They recognize that African Americans, black people in this country go through so much that if they can at least avoid that struggle, they'll do as much as they can. So in their mind, I guess that's kind of a coping mechanism for them to have a slightly easier life, if they could. By distancing themselves.
This is Death, Sex & Money.
The show from WNYC about the things we think about a lot… and need to talk about more. I’m Anna Sale.
Afi Yellow-Duke is a producer here at the show.
AFI YELLOW-DUKE: I think people see my name a lot and they’re like that's - where is that person from? (Laughs)
Here’s the answer:
AYD: My mom was from Haiti and my dad is from Nigeria.
Afi’s parents both immigrated as adults and met in the U.S. And earlier this year, she and I started talking together about the kinds of conversations she was having within her family about what was happening in 2020 in the U.S. Especially after George Floyd was killed by police.
AYD: I really just wanted to like, make sure we were all doing okay. But also like, I knew I was upset and had my own like opinions and like wanted to kind of get a sense of like what we were all thinking about in this moment. And I guess, like, I was also having these conversations, like with other friends of mine who come from immigrant families and like, we were all kind of figuring out, like, how do we, how do we talk about this stuff with our families? And like, for some of my friends, it was like, how do I translate this stuff into like the languages that they speak or like, how do I, talk about anti-blackness with my like parents. There were more layers to the conversations I was having with my friends who are also in immigrant families.
ANNA SALE: I remember you saying something like, you know, everywhere I'm hearing the "Race in America 101" conversation and I need the like, graduate seminar.
AYD: Yeah. I still feel like I need that. (Laughs)
AS: So, starting back in June, we asked those of you who are a part of immigrant families to give us a window into the discussions you’re having in 2020.
AYD: Because in my own family, these conversations have been really challenging… and really interesting. And I was so curious about what was going on inside more immigrant families, including ones really different from my own.
AS: And to be clear, when we say immigrant families, that’s a lot of families in the U.S. In 2019, more than a quarter of the U.S. population were immigrants or their U.S.-born children, according to the Census Bureau.
AYD: So I’ve spent the last few months hearing from some of you about how you’re talking with your parents, your siblings, and your extended families this year. The conversations I had were deeply personal. And in this episode, you’ll hear several of them, all about the intersection of identity, and race, and racism. And politics too, because, you know, there’s an election next week.
Political conversations, are just a no-no.
Because it just leads to screaming matches.
They are definitely a little bit racist
It’s almost like, they're the only ones who will ever be marginalized, oppressed, et cetera, ever. And they can’t apply anything to any other group.
It also requires like a betrayal of their love for this country, you know, a country that they adore and that they admire and that they're grateful for.
They really have sacrificed so much and done so much to be where they are. And I am so grateful for all the sacrifices that they've made.
I have to figure out kind of what's my duty to them. And what's my duty to myself.
So it’s an ongoing battle.
AYD: Do you think the election results, the outcome will impact your relationship with your family?
GINA: Um, to be completely honest, I think it's already affected our relationship.
This is Gina, who’s 29 years old and lives in New York. Her parents both immigrated from Peru to California, where they still live. And last year, she got added to a Facebook group chat with 13 members of her dad’s side of the family.
GINA: I think it began as like, how are you, hope you’re having a good day. And like, if someone has a birthday, let's say happy birthday kind of thing.
AYD: I have a family group chat, so I, I can see it. I get it like.
GINA: Yeah. I think at the beginning it was kind of nice to just be communicating with that part of the family, especially cause I was never really close to most of them besides my dad.
But once the pandemic started… and a few people on the chat started making comments about looting during the protests, Gina decided to start sharing articles about the Black Lives Matter movement with her family.
GINA: At first they definitely did not. Um, they were not responsive. They were very much so, like, why are you - I mean, in my mind that I read it as like, why are you sending me this? They don't understand how Latinos are very much. So part of the problem when it comes to, you know, racial issues. Even like with like George Zimmerman, like he's half Peruvian, um, you know, you, you, you kind of have to like, as a Latino, you kind of have to take a step back and be like, okay, why is it that this is happening, you know. It was extremely important for me to kind of push.
But that pushing and article sharing has also led to conflict. Like with Gina’s older half sister, who lives in Texas and is married to a former police officer.
GINA: I think it was an article and then it was a screenshot of Trump talking about uh, calling everybody thugs or something like that. And then my sister responding immediately with Obama's also calling people thugs. And I just - It felt very like childish and, I don't know, it was very off putting. And that’s when I decided to kind of take a step back from sending certain things to them, because I was like, I don't want to, I don't want to start this again, kind of thing.
ANYA: We've been having a lot of very difficult conversations around the very racist, very oppressive core of this country.
A listener named Anya, whose parents came to the U.S. from Moscow, sent this voice memo in.
ANYA: My family immigrated to Massachusetts as political and Jewish refugees, um, in 1991, uh, these last few months I've found that there's just so many barriers for us, to work through - generational, political, cultural, before we can even come to an understanding. It's just, it's a lot to absorb for them. Um, when I found is the biggest issue for them is that they see their lives as like literal proof of the American dream, being this very real and very available thing to anyone that just wants it badly enough. So, you know, to explain to them how their skin color actually worked to their advantage, obviously it feels like a slap in the face to them.
Like Gina, Anya’s been having these conversations with her family remotely. But some of you are not having these conversations at a distance. Rudy first sent us a voice memo this summer that he recorded while he was living at his parents’ house in New Jersey.
RUDY: I’ve been unemployed since March and I’ve been living with my parents since. The reason why I decided to send something to you is because I’ve been noticing a lot of patterns that are absolutely killing me inside, from my parents.
Rudy is 26, and he grew up in both China and the United States until middle school, when his family settled in the U.S. And he says that in the last few months, he’s been talking, and arguing, with his parents about racism in America in ways they never have before.
RUDY: It's a lot of persistence and there's a lot of, uh, there's a lot of mental anguish, and there's a lot of accepting of like the person that you want to be that may be different from what your parents wanted you to be.
AYD: And what would happen in those conversations? Drop me into a conversation here.
RUDY: Yeah. Um, you know like, it would really just be, about like how the protests, um, that were really sparked, um, my parents really just like, did not - really thought, like, you know, it was okay for certain things to happen to black people. And what I mean by that is, you know, like for example, words, such as "They deserve this," or like, "This should have happened," or like, "They could have prevented this if they were, if they just like listened to the government more." Um, those are like some kind of, you know, examples where I was just like, wow. I can't believe you would say that, like, that's just horrible. And I would show them pictures and, you know, I would have like many, many different confrontations during dinner where I would bring up videos and it was really hard for me to even convince them. And they just kind of just looked at it as fake news and just not believe me. Um, and that, that would just constantly pushing me to the edge. Where, you know, at one point I was just so ticked off that we would have verbal, like yelling, like doing dinner and I would just like go upstairs and completely just ignore them for the entire night. Um, and the next day my mom would just, you know, be kind again and like, just be like, oh, like, how was, how are you doing and stuff? And I'll be like, am I supposed to just get over this? Like immediately? Like, damn, that's really hard. And like, it just felt so mentally taxing to like, be able to, I don't know, to be able to say that you love your parents and you know, you, and they obviously like cooked you a great, amazing dinner, but still somehow the next day be just, just accept it and just say, okay, like that's the way they, they are. And like, I'm just going to live my life normally. I find that really hard.
AYD: And when did you start having those conversations with your parents?
RUDY: Yeah. I guess leading up to the 2016 election. I know, I definitely know I didn't tell you this in the beginning. Um, but when, my parents were talking to me around 2015, 2016, um, they were, they were really big into Trump. And me at the time, you know, were just starting to get into politics. And so for me, I actually fell into the camp of supporting Trump at one point where I'm just going to like side with them, even though I disagree with some of the views that Trump had, um, you know what, like, it's better for me to just like side with them right now.
AYD: So you felt like you needed to trust them and like defer to them a little bit.
RUDY: Yeah. Yeah. I wasn't, I was not confident. I was not confident in my, um, political decision ability or not - even judge like political candidates. And I felt my parents' frustration with politicians. So I felt like it was just easier instead of like having an argument with 'em. Um, I'd rather just, you know, be okay with that. It took a while for me to mentally accept, but, um, it's, it's, it's more important to me to realize that I have to live my life according to my own terms. If it means that my parent's relationship with me are not going to be as strong before, just based off of certain politics and certain disagreements and cultural norms, then so be it.
AYD: Do you feel personally vulnerable right now? Like in terms of like in this country, because of who you are?
RUDY: Yeah. You know, like probably two years ago or even maybe a year ago. I wouldn't say I was that worried. But I think, I think given the situations of, you know, perpetrating, uh, calling it a "China virus" and many people who, who just see, um, I guess China now as an enemy, um, I think it becomes a lot more, it becomes a lot more careful on how I navigate myself, um, and, and going into the future and, uh, just also being wary of like employment. Um, I saw that, like I saw an article that, uh, Asian unemployment, it's actually the second highest now, right under, um, right under African Americans. And Asian Americans have never faced higher unemployment like that for a very long time. So signs like that definitely makes me worried since, you know, I'm still unemployed and I send in all these job apps. And now I can't help but think like, I wonder if it's literally because of my name. Even if I don't say what race I am, you see my last name, you're going to be like, oh yeah, he's Chinese. Because it's too obvious. So I can't hide it. I can't do anything about it. You can search me up on LinkedIn, immediately find me and be easy as that. Um, and then just judge me right there, uh, make a decision. So, yeah. Um, I think, I'm definitely a little bit more hesitant. Um, About the future.
AYD: Do you think your parents feel that sense of hesitancy and have they expressed any concerns like that?
RUDY: Um, my dad does not really believe certain things like that happen. He believes in the motto of you work hard, you get what you get. Right? Um, my mom, she says, she knows that I kind of feel scared about how everything's turning out to be for Asians. And, uh, she definitely is not, she definitely doesn't want further President of, you know, America constantly, um, hating on Asians. And obviously, you know, you can say that's selfish because she only cares about Asians, but, but I would say like, that's, that's definitely more thought than she used to give. Um, because now this is actually hitting a race that's that's her skin, right? Like it wasn't, it's not just blacks anymore. It's not just Hispanics anymore. Now you're actually feeling it because you're Asian and I'm glad, I'm glad that happened because she can realize that herself. But she was more pointing out the concern. Um, I think for me and my sister.
AYD: Do you think your mom is aware of the fact that you two have a more complicated relationship?
RW: Yeah. Yeah. I think, um, I think it would be crazy to say she isn't aware because like, it's just so obvious. Um, at this point I think, I think sometimes she chooses to ignore it and thinks that, you know, I'm her - like, I'm her son and like, you know, forever, I'll be her baby sort of thing. But I do think that she's starting to realize like, yeah, I'm, I'm her, I'm her kid, like I'm her baby forever, but, but I'm going to change and, and I'm going to have thoughts of my own that might be different from hers. Um, she's, she's actually had some profound conversation with me this, this past weekend where we were just in the car and she just, you know, talked to me about the election and - and I was really happy to say that, you know, she, she actually said that she has been thinking a lot about what I've said and, um, she's starting to understand like, she wants, she wants to see like a more positive movement rather than a negative movement.
AYD: Mmhm. It sounds like there's a shift happening in your family, but I also wonder, like, do you have a sense of why your parents have been and are hesitant to kind of like condemn anti-black racism?
RUDY: Yeah, that's a, wow. That's that's a deep question. Um, I would say that, um, and I've always, and I've always believed this, but just no exposure. I mean, you just, um, any, any group of people who are not exposed enough to certain races, to certain people, to certain types of people, to certain um, personalities, um, just won't have like that much of a understanding that, that we're all relatively the same. And we all want to like, just get through life, you know, positively. Um, I don't think my parents, like both my dad and my mom were exposed to as many diverse people as I am. I don't think I'll be able to completely change, um, my parents, or frank - for that matter, anyone 100 percent, I think that's just an impossible task. Um, however, I think my goal is to ultimately just consistently throw things at them that, that they just, that that needs to be heard. No one else is gonna, no one else is going to tell them, um, what I'm going to say. And I want them to be exposed, um, to the experiences I've had. They worked, they worked their ass off to get me and my sister to America. And America is not, uh, shouldn't, at least shouldn't, be some kind of country that makes other people, uh, born in a certain skin color, make them feel, um, scared or make them feel, um, that they can't do anything in society to move up. Um, that's not, that's not what I like to stand for and that's not what - that's not why I would be proud to say I’m American.
Coming up… more conversations about identity, loyalty, and family.
EFFIE: I’m just so rooted in America, I have a lot of my roots here, since I was raised here as well. I think it’s kind of hard for them to understand. Because they, in their mind, it’s like, you’re Ethiopian, you were born there, you have Ethiopian blood, that should ground you to Ethiopia as a country. But that's not necessarily how it works.
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This is Death, Sex & Money from WNYC. I’m Afi Yellow-Duke.
A lot of you who come from immigrant families told me that when you’re talking with your relatives about identity, there’s this added dimension to the conversations. You’re trying to sort out what parts of being American you can claim, the parts you can’t, and the parts that you need to pay closer attention to.
A listener we’re calling Ann wrote in to us from Southern California. She's in her 30s, and grew up there in a big Filipino American family. This summer, they were planning a big reunion, which they decided to do by Zoom.
ANN: And while we trying to figure out what the weekend would look like, the murder of George Floyd happened and you know, the protests were really ramping up and the Black Lives Matter movement was really at the forefront of every conversation. And I think like many other people, I started really reflecting on identity and race and how in many ways I've contributed to where we're at today. Um, and a lot of my feelings were like, I, I, how do you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been? And It made me think about like, well, what am I not learning about my history and my culture and what it means to be a Filipino American.
So, Ann decided to put together a schedule of three days of Zoom activities, that would focus on their Filipino American family’s history. Her aunts and uncles talked about their lives before coming to the U.S… they shared stories about her grandfather’s job in a factory back in the Philippines, and her mom led a cooking demonstration of a favorite family dessert.
ANN: It's kind of like a marshmallow-y dessert with like a custard inside.
ANN: It's one of those dishes that like my uncle would always bring to our family parties, 'cause because we have such a family, like a big family, all our parties are potlucks. 'Cause there's no way anybody could feed everybody. And so whenever we have a party, it's like, oh, can you bring the Brazo de Mercedes? You know, if something were to happen or when he does pass. We're not going to have it anymore, or like somebody needs to know how to make it.
AYD: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Before the reunion, like when you were growing up, how did you learn about your culture and like Filipino history? It sounds like you really interested in that now. Like, were you really interested in that when you were younger?
ANN: No, I think like, and I think like that's the, ugh, I, like, cringe when I think about like things I used to do as a kid, but it was all in trying to assimilate and like fit in. Um, you know, like not wanting your friends to come over when your mom made certain foods because of the way they smelled. I think like I used to like try to run away from that a lot as a kid, um, because I just didn't really want to be othered. And I look back and I realized that like, we were exposed to our culture in some ways, but at the same time, like exposure doesn't mean understanding, like you can be exposed to it, but it doesn't mean that you really get what it means to be like a Filipino American.
Ann has also tried to talk to her family about how their family history relates to American history, and who’s been included and excluded. Something she’s been talking about a lot as a grad student in education. But when she tried to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement with her mom… at first, she felt like it wasn’t really connecting.
ANN: And so I remembered this letter going around on Instagram. Um, it called like the letters for black lives. And so it, they had like different translations of the letter in various languages. And so I found the letter in Tagalog and I talked to my brothers about like, kind of what had happened and they were like, yeah. Um, it might be easier for her to kind of understand it, hearing it in her own language. And so we decided to share it with her and then, yeah. So we did that. And then she was like, who wrote this letter? Because she knew that me and my brothers don't speak Tagalog and we told her like, where we found it. And so she was like, it was really well-written. It gives me a better understanding of like, what is happening right now. Um, so I think it was a good starting point.
While Ann and her mom have kept talking, they don’t agree on everything. Right now, Ann doesn’t understand why her mom’s friendly with their neighbors who have a Trump sign in their yard.
Ann’s mom didn’t want to do an interview with us, but her younger brother, who we’re calling Julius, hopped on the call. He’s a seasonal firefighter, and when he isn’t traveling for work, he’s been living with their parents.
JULIUS: I mean, I would argue that just, like I've been around here more than you and uh, like we all have conversations with the neighbors and they know each other, or we know each other on a first name basis and they always ask about how we're doing and things like that. So when I see the signs of who they're voting for up in their yard, it's like just a little bit surprising, but nothing concerning.
ANN: Do you think it, does it hurt you at all? I guess in the same way that it hurts me to see that.
JULIUS: Umm. I don't know if it hurts me, but maybe just a little disappointing. Yeah. I don't know.
AYD: Why is it more personal to you, Ann?
ANN: I don't know why it's, I am taking it so personally, um. And I don't know if it's just because like, I am invested in this, you know, we value our neighbors, you know, so much and being able to just be neighborly. Um, and to think you care more about somebody than they care about you. I think just hurts. And I think to me it just hurts. It's like a sign of like, oh, I don't care for you.
AYD: Julius, I guess, I've just been talking with your sister about, uh, kind of like how she's come to understand what being Filipino American means to her over the years. How are you thinking about your identity as a Filipino American in the last few months?
JULIUS: It's just interesting because this is something that I've never really thought about. And, it's just always hard to, um, like articulate my thoughts. And she’s, um, trying to define what this means. Like it's, it kind of paints the picture for me to, um, just to give me like ideas to, for me to relate to. Like, are we losing touch with our Filipino, um, side of ourselves? Like as we, as we grow up?
AYD: Does it feel like, you know, your sister's very focused on this in a way that's like important? Or like doesn't feel as like urgent to you? Or is it like helpful to like see her processing this?
JULIUS: Yeah, it's definitely helped helpful to see her um, just try to pick at this. Like I, because this is something, these are the types of conversations that I never have with, like even myself. So just seeing how, uh, cause we're we're, um, brought up together. Like it kinda just makes more sense for me to see like how our past actually shaped us.
AYD: Yeah. You said "pick at this" just now, which I dunno, made me think of like a scab or something. Like, is there some way in which like doing this is painful or scary?
JULIUS: Um, it's not, no, I would just say it's definitely a little bit uncomfortable just because I feel like I'm not aware a lot of a lot of these things, and, um, just seeing, how do I say this? It's like, I'm trying to find answers for myself, but like, I don't really know what, um, the questions to ask. So seeing her navigate through this is just, um, just very helpful for me.
EFFIE: I think all of us have an identity crisis in some way.
Our listener Effie wrote in to us from Denver. She’s 23, and as a little kid she immigrated to the U.S. with her mom and dad from Ethiopia.
EFFIE: A lot of Ethiopians from Ethiopia they really identify as being purely Ethiopian. If I'm talking to like an Ethiopian from Ethiopia, um, if I say I'm black, quite frankly, they will be shocked. And in, in not a great way. Me being raised in America gave, um, gave me more of a cultural, I guess, tilt towards, you know, being American, having more, an identity that is more, I guess, multicultural and thinking more beyond my Ethiopian roots.
I talked with Effie at home, where she lives with her mom and stepdad. Her stepdad is also from Ethiopia, but arrived in the U.S. just five years ago. And in that time, especially in the past year, they’ve been talking a lot about race, identity, and how they define themselves.
EFFIE: I've said I’m black so many times around the house. I think they’ve kind of just given up. So I'm not entirely sure if they've accepted it or if they’re just like this girl’s crazy, I’m not going to try to convince her anymore. It’s almost like a coming out story. Like, “Mom, I’m black!” [Laughs]
AYD: Can you tell me more about like what you mean in terms of like the differences in identity that you and your parents have?
EFFIE: Yeah. I mean, guess it kind of started when I decided to check "African American" on all my documents instead of "Other." When my parents realized it and they were very confused. Um, the first thing people usually say is, "Oh, no, you're not black. You're you're Ethiopian." Um, you're not - actually, somebody told me that Ethiopians aren't black, they’re Semitic, which I was a little confused about because, you know, I understand that much in Ethiopia has language that's very close to Hebrew and I understand how that would work in being Semitic. But, does that negate the fact that I'm also African, which means I'm black? I personally don't understand the - like the process that they go through just to avoid being considered as black. They want to make sure that, while there are some similarities between looks and appearance. They want to make sure that there's still this divide. Um, unfortunately between Ethiopians and the general black population, which is very difficult to navigate.
AYD: How does your family feel about that? Like are they surprised that you identify this way? Does it upset them as well? Like, where, where do they fall?
EFFIE: I think it's kind of difficult for my mom and I kind of, I wouldn't say give her a pass, but I kind of understand where she's coming from. She passes as white or passes as racially ambiguous because of how light-skinned she is. So she kind of gets away with putting "Other." But my stepdad is very dark. Um, and he's also very new to the country or relatively new compared to my mom. So I think he specifically, because he's very new to the country has much more - 'cause my mom knows that, somewhere deep in her heart, she knows that Ethiopian Americans, you know, since they look black, they are going to be - even if they don't consider themselves as black, they are going to be seen and viewed as black by the rest of the population. He hasn't really, that hasn't really solidified for him. Um, it was a couple of years ago, um, but when Philando Castile was murdered, my stepdad actually brought it up, 'cause he saw it in the news somewhere. And he was talking about how really just saddened he was about this country and how they were treating African Americans and like, you know, he, he used, he used - the way he, the way he said it, it was very much so, "Oh, it's so sad for them." And, "I feel really disappointed how they treat them," you know, kind of like distancing himself. And that really solidified when he said, you know, "Well, they won't shoot me in my car because I'm not black. I'm Ethiopian." And yeah. Still to this day, I'm like very shocked that he even said that, um, because it felt kind of, there's a lot of things going through my mind, like when he did. First, I was really confused because he's so dark skinned. That I'm very - I was like, how are they not going to see you as black? In my mind it just didn't solidify. Like it didn't make sense at all. But then for him, I guess he was trying to use that as a barrier, like how he identifies as Ethiopian and not black. He was trying to use that as a way to protect himself.
AYD: In the moment when he made that comment, like, did you, did you respond or were you just like, whoa, like, I can't believe you said that.
EFFIE: I did respond in the moment, but I took, like, I had like a 30 second dialogue with myself, like, "Effie, are you really trying to do this today?" Like, I don't think you have a choice, you know, kind of like, is this a battle I'm gonna fight? You know? Um, so I decided, okay, like, I think this is important even though I don't really like having - I'm not really a confrontational person. But I felt like this was really important. Because I can't let them think all their life that they're not black. And then, you know, say something very ignorant to a police officer, even endanger themselves later on. So that's kind of when I decided to really be a little bit more intentional about how I talk about race and specifically the - being black and black identity with my family. And after that, they've been more receptive. Um, but gosh, it's like, it ebbs and flows, um, it's up and down. I know, I don't really know if they fully get it one day, other days they seem very woke. So it's obviously a continuing process, but I think that was the day that I realized that it was a conversation I had to be more intentional about because they're not going to get this conversation outside of the home.
AYD: What led you to shift from the other, checking the "Other" box to "African American." Like, what - I'm curious as to your process in making that shift.
EFFIE: You know, I didn't think it's necessarily that big of a deal for me, 'cause I've always kind of like knew. Um, so when I first went to kindergarten, when I first came over from Ethiopia, like people recognized me as black, um, so I always knew that was who I was. So necessarily like checking that box, wasn't like, "Oh, I'm doing such a, you know, courageous thing." It was just kinda like, yeah, like, why haven't I done this before? Um, so it, yeah, it wasn't like a big shift in my mind. It was just kind of something that I always knew. And I always knew that there was a difference between my school life, quote unquote in my home life. And I had to make them converge somehow, because he was like cognitive dissonance in a way.
AYD: Yeah. That cognitive dissonance, I feel, I definitely feel that. There definitely is like a way you kind of shift, like, I don't know if your family ever said this, but like, my mom was from Haiti and she would always be like, when you, when you walk in this apartment, you're no longer in the United States. And I was just like, what? Like as a very young kid, I was like, that doesn't make sense. But that sort of dynamic is definitely something I can relate to. Do you - I guess I'm curious, like it sounds like it was very, like easy for you to kind of just be like, okay, like, there's this difference in these two, like worlds, I kind of am in, like, this is how I'm going to solve that. Do you feel like - is it comfortable?
EFFIE: Um, I don't know if I'd call it comfortable. It was just kind of like, either I find like some place to really solidify my identity or I fall into the abyss of possibly changing who I am. That was kind of like the decision I had to make, it felt like. Because I, um, I'm not gonna lie, I still have struggles with like personal identity, cultural identity, but I want to make sure that I find some solid ground to build my identity on without the necessarily the opinions of others. But it's really hard when you're trying to form your cultural identity when two different sides of you are pulling in two different directions. And the two sides aren't really seeing eye to eye. I was trying to please my community. I was trying to make sure that, you know, that they thought that I was Ethiopian. And I thought that if I was really open about me identifying as black as well, then that would negate the fact that I was truly an Ethiopian. But I feel like it was just kind of making matters, worse, unknowingly for the rest of the Black community. So I'm going to have to, you know, let some people down. I'm going to have to, uh, what's the word, dissap-, like, wow, I forgot the word disappoint. I'm going to disappoint some people. Um, and if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes. Um, but yeah, I mean this, this isn't really comfortable, it's necessary, I’d say.
That’s a listener named Effie from Denver. And I’m Afi Yellow-Duke. Thank you to all of the listeners who shared their experiences with us. I really appreciated having these conversations. And, as for my family, our group chat is pretty interesting right now. You should see the questions we’re asking my dad.
Death, Sex & Money is a listener-supported production of WNYC Studios in New York. Katie Bishop and I produced this episode. The rest of our team includes Anabel Bacon, Emily Botein, and Andrew Dunn.
The Reverend John Delore and Steve Lewis wrote our theme music.
I’m on Twitter @ayellowduchess, and the show is @deathsexmoney on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
AS: And I’m on Twitter @annasale. Thanks to Emily Mueller in Kaukana, Wisconsin, who is a sustaining member of Death, Sex & Money. Join Emily and support what we do here by going to deathsexmoney.org/donate.
Special thanks to artist Maddie Dai for her beautiful artwork for this episode. She grew up in New Zealand with a Chinese dad and a white mom, and discussions like these have been a regular part of dinners in her family. You can see Maddie’s artwork at deathsexmoney.org.
And a reminder to all our listeners. We love hearing from you about what’s on your mind and what conversations you need to hear right now. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFI: Um, are you gonna listen to this?
AFI'S DAD: How long is this going to take?
AFI: (Laughs) The episode is probably, I think it’s about 40 minutes now.
AFI'S DAD: It’s going to take 40 minutes?
AFI: Not our conversation. I mean the episode.
AFI'S DAD: Oh, okay, all right, Okay. I’ll find time tomorrow.
AYD: I’m Afi Yellow-Duke… that was my dad... and this is Death, Sex & Money from WNYC.