Author: Sharda Sekaran

An Outsider on the Inside (Sometimes)

My first swear word was “shit.” I used it in a very specific and, I might add, sophisticated way. I was three years old, sitting in the back seat of a car. My grandmother and another adult were in the front. They were talking about my mom, clearly assuming that a toddler wouldn’t understand. Much to their shock and amusement, I cut off their gossiping with: “Don’t be talking about my momma! Sheeee-it.” Yes, reportedly I delivered it with that precise, very adult, multi-syllabic and sassy intonation: “Sheeee-it.” It was my first time witnessing a conversation that upset my sense of loyalty. It wasn’t my last. As a Mash-Up, I often get an up-close view of bigotry, because people don’t know their bigotry applies to the person standing right next to them — me. [pullquote]People can be completely reprehensible in their attitude towards “others” when they think no one outside the fold is listening.[/pullquote] I’m not alone. My mixed friends have heard their own family members say racially or ethnically derogatory things in front of …