A tale depicting a harrowing journey to realize the inner self.
Here we followed up with Al, the student who fainted in the previous story here. He’s now in fourth year.
For Al, formerly known as Ali, it all started in the fifth grade. His teacher Mrs Mackenzie had mistaken him for his classmate Alonso “Ese” Rivera.
And to this very day, Al takes pride in the fact that he was once confused for Hispanic. Or Latino. Or Mexican. He can’t quite narrow it down, but he knew that this was the beginning of his fully realized racialized identity.
“I knew there was something different about me,” said Al as he adjusted his coral golf shorts and light green polo sweater. “I couldn’t put a name to it.”
I ask him to elaborate. There’s a long pause as he adjusts the ankle socks which sit comfortably above his brown penny loafers.
“Two words: Rachel Dolezal,” He sheds a single tear after describing her harrowing experience of being dismissed from the community she truly belonged in.
He looks swiftly to his small tin lunchbox, pausing as he opens a container of sliced white wonder bread.
“Her story is exactly like mine —I felt so out of place and so persecuted by an identity I didn’t really want to reconcile with. I wanted to profit from my identity not be burdened with it. I wanted more.”
“What do you mean?” I asked him.
“I’m entitled to living life, with all the things I’m entitled too,” Al says.
“What am I entitled to? Everything! White women! Cute looking White Babiestm! White Scholars like Hamza Yusuf, I need that representation!” Al closes his lunchbox hastily.
“What do you mean representation? You’re brown? ” At this point I am quickly realizing these are minutes of my life I can never get back.
Al gasps, “ Sacrilege! How dare you! I’m transracial! I am white and always have been. In my heart, in my bones, I’ve always loved unseasoned, dry chicken! How dare you discriminate against my slightly darker exterior, I make extra effort to stay out of the sun! And I’m 200% allowed to say Nigger! ”
Al’s face gets redder and redder, so much so that I’m slightly impressed at the degree of practice that ruby red mannerism must have take to perfect.
“I am transracial. I am a proud W-h-ite man and my ancestors worked so hard to get included in that category,” Al yanks out his phone’s background to show me the racial designation of whiteness in America.
I’m at a loss for words before I ask him this, “…but you do realize you’re in Canada and —”
“So what, Riz Ahmed is starring in Girls with the glorious Lena Dunham! All hail Lena! White girls are so pure unlike indecent, ungrateful women of colour. She’s so good for helping Riz!”, Al starts to tear up. He leaves in a flustered rush.
Stay tuned for Part 2 as we follow up with Ali. # No Wannabe White Muslim Boys were hurt in the making of this piece.