As an African American woman I know what it feels like to have to switch personas. Talking to my peers is a lot different than talking to a customer at work or someone at a professional meeting.
As a mixed woman, I know how to switch personas instantaneously without subconsciously knowing. I grew up being around my white side of the family 90% of the time and my black side about 10%. I was raised in a single parent household with my mom, whom I love very much. She's always taught my sisters and I to appreciate and accept who we are. She has no idea what it's like to be a black woman, or a mixed woman. But she tries to understand and that's more than enough.
I'm very open and comfortable with both sides of my family now as an adult. It hasn't always been that way...
But I noticed something very interesting. The way I talk to my white aunt differs from the way I talk to my black aunt. Why is this? Does that mean I'm fake?
It's not that the choice of topic changes all of the time. It's the delivery and the tone that changes.
This doesn't just happen between my family and I. It happens way more often when I am at work. When a white customer comes into the store, they get a more upbeat, small talk type of interaction. When a person of color comes into the store, doesn't matter their ethnicity, there is a sense of relief. It's like I don't have to try too hard or force conversation as much. Thus, changing my tone a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I stay professional, giving each customer/client the same experience. There is just a sense of familiarity and comfortability when dealing with one vs the other.
Since I grew up celebrating and learning two different cultures. I experienced switching between my two personas way more often. I didn't really notice until I started making YouTube videos. I want my videos to be real and authentic. I want them to show my true personality and what I am about. I'm always playing them back wondering if I really sound like that in real life.
The truth of the matter is ... BOTH personas are me! I know a lot of black people might not have to switch up as often until they get into a work setting, etc. But for me, I've been doing it since as long as I can remember on a consistent basis, in my family life and out into the world. Every single day ...
Sometimes my white side is easier for me to resort to since I grew up around that side the most. I have to be comfortable enough to share all of me. Which is bs!
Let me give you an example:
I go to a photoshoot and 5 other girls are there. It's a professional setting so instantaneously my "white" persona (I hate calling it that but not sure another word for it) takes over. Until ...
One of the other models and I have a "Girl" moment that breaks the ice.
Once the ice is broken and we've reached some type of commonality and made a connection. I am now comfortable enough to be myself and have fun.
My goal this year is to focus on blending the two personas together when creating content and sharing myself with the world. I want to find my voice and really get comfortable with sharing both sides of me simultaneously.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to share my thoughts on this platform with you all.