Culture/ethnicity: Turkish and Syrian.
Born and raised in the US, moved to sweden when i was around 7 or 8.
I remember being very ashamed my entire childhood of being Arab. I would never refer to myself as syrian, but always american, and i’d even get mad at my mom when she spoke to me in arabic in front of my peers cause they would always pick on me for being muslim and arab. I’m constantly met with “You’re so pretty for an Arab” “Oh, but you look normal!” “You don’t look syrian” because i’m white-passing. And for a long time, i accepted those comments as compliments.
I was ashamed of telling my swedish, white friends the reason i didn’t eat pork, why i covered up more than they did. One of my closest friends back then (who, thank god, i have no connection with anymore) legit asked me if my dad hit me, if i was going to get married off, etc and it tore me apart. I didn’t want anything to do with my culture, language and heritage because of the prejudice i faced for being who i am.
Thankfully, i eventually embraced my culture and learned that people telling me that i was too pretty to be arabic were actually insulting to my people and me. I learned to stand up for myself when white boys would mockingly imitate my language and wear scarves around their heads to make fun of muslims. I learned to be proud of where my parents came from and the struggles they’ve faced and overcome. And even though the third largest political party in sweden is extremely islamophobic and downright racist, i’ll never be discouraged. Because for once in my life i’m actually happy to be born the way i am.