When Cindi Bright, a bi-racial diversity consultant was in high school, she looked around her cafeteria — which had people of different races bunched up with their own — and asked herself where she belonged. In this Ted Talk, she takes us through her life — what the experience of growing up bi-racial was, and why race is still discussed and debated.
“I am both a black woman and a white woman. I am German, my mother is from Germany, and my father is from Arkansas. My mother was rejected by both races — by white people and by black people. My father was rejected because he married a white woman. The anger that my mother carried with her every single day from the rejection of this world, manifested in our own life, in my home life, through abuse,” she says.
Bright goes on to say that she was beaten in school by a blonde-haired woman, who did not like her because she had a white mother. Discussing the complexities of race, she recalls her father saying that a person’s race is one that is given to them by their father. So, when Bright — who went on to marry a white man — gave birth to a son, she could not decide which race he belonged to.
A tough turn in life forced her to undergo therapy, and that is when Bright began to see life differently. Speaking about her therapist, she says, “She helped me to look at the reflection of my own heart, and to begin to heal myself through 48 years of trauma… The state of your heart is the solution to this race problem,” she says.
“This notion of race, this fight, this clamouring with each other over melanin in our skins; what happens to a woman that is like me, that looks like me, when I am in the world? I am rejected from every angle you look at. Through no choice of my own I come into this world with a little bit of melanin,” she says, adding a certain “leader” in Washington DC is pitting race on race. “Aren’t you tired of it?” she asks. “Aren’t you tired of seeing people fight each other for nothing?” she says.
“I am not who you think I am; you are who you think I am… It is 2019, and my heart is on my sleeve, and I ask myself the question: do you see you?” she concludes.