Growing up, I was often accused of being "white." My taste for Led Zeppelin and Queen over Puff Daddy and Busta Rhymes was called "white." My appetite for reading was called "white." Even my wardrobe, which failed to reflect the norms of late 90s hip-hop culture, was "white." It was intended as a pejorative, one that denied me my identity based on my cultural preferences.
And it hurt. I'm Dominican, but was constantly told I didn't act Dominican. And in response to these insults, I made a clown of myself trying to get the "right" clothes and force-feeding myself the "right" music so that "my people" would accept and include me.
It didn't work. Though I, too, had immigrant parents, ate the same foods and shared a first-generation American experience, I was too different from my peers as a person. They mocked my manner of speaking, sneered at my sense of humor, and found these "un-Dominican" things about me profoundly uncool.
Today, I still find myself called "white" as a pejorative, often to silence or shame me for speaking heresies. A recent example is instructive: While filling a sign-up form for a workshop, I noticed that the question of my race featured a blank field rather than the usual multiple choice. I took the opportunity to proudly write in "human," and shared this anecdote on Twitter. The response was telling.