Lawrence Hill’s Discovery of Self-Identity

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Black people, White people Pages: 2 (705 words) Published: March 10, 2013
Lawrence Hill’s Discovery of Self-Identity

Sometimes, self-identify is complicated, especially when parents are interracial. In this case, appearance may no longer indicate where you belong. This is what happens in the essay “Black + White = Black” written by Lawrence Hill, whose father is black and whose mother is white, and it took him a long period to determine who he was. Finally, he identified himself as black. Lawrence Hill drew this conclusion by realizing that he was not white, and then it was cultural identity that made him believe he was black. To begin with, Lawrence Hill easily found out who he was not, because his environment would “tell”. First of all, Hill was different from the environment, although he was invisible for most of the time when he moved to Toronto. Gradually, he discovered that “[…] my environment started talking to me and making me aware that I would never truly be white” (Hill 201). It was true that he could learn the roles of that community, acting like a local person, and of course he did that in the future, but he still could not change his appearance. In this environment, he was considered an outsider because he looked different from others. Secondly, Hill tried to shade his features in case the environment would distinguish him from the majority. After he was told that curly hair was not good, he felt so bad, “[…] I remember feeling extremely hurt and ashamed, and I started wearing the stocking cap” (Hill 204). He felt that curly hair was ugly, making him uncomfortable, because he did not want to stand out. Therefore, he tried to straighten his hair and cover it. It was his environment that made Hill become aware that he was not white. Besides, Hill was reminded by his cousin that he would never be a white even if he had become assimilated. When Hill went to visit his cousins, he wanted to play a game with his cousin Richard, but Richard said, “Larry! That’s a white folks’ game!” (Hill 202) At that point, Hill...
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