My partner thought that she was Italian until she was 36 years old. Her name is Italian and she beautiful in a Sophia Loren sort of way, so this was never questioned. This Ani’s story and I asked her if I could write about it. She had no problem, but I will try to protect her anonymity as best as I can, and hope that I can relate her experience adequately.
Hollede :: What am I?
I would love to write a diary about this but will need to work with her to get the story exactly right.
In short, almost 20 years ago Ani met a cousin she did not know she had. They figured out they were related and she was amazed to discover that her father was not Italian, but was in fact Latino and Native American. She found out that her father and his brothers were placed in an orphanage after their mother died. When her father left the institution, he took on an entirely new identity. In the late 30’s and early 40’s it was tough to be Italian, but far easier than being Native or Latino.
Ani grew up in a home where her father disparaged people of color. She could not understand why her Dad wanted her to stay out of the sun. She did not understand why the other kids treated her differently.
While Ani rejected her father’s racism on her own, it was difficult to overcome the lifetime of her fathers self loathing. Her Dad passed on two years ago, and to his dying day he would never admit his heritage.
Ani has embraced her Native American heritage.