I've dealt with this all my life. When people find out that I'm African the first thing they say is, you don't look African. Then, they proceed to name every other culture that they think I might fit. I've gotten confused for being Dominican, Cuban or Costa Rican and when I ask why, they mostly say because of my skin tone and my eyes. It's frustrating because I just want to look like myself, an African woman. Often times it bothers me that I can't just be African because I have curly hair, lighter eyes and bright brown skin. Most times people ask if I'm mixed, like being mixed is the reason for certain features that exist. Beauty comes from all cultures and backgrounds. Yes mixed people are beautiful but when I say that I'm African and someone follows with, are you sure you're not mixed? To me it's insulting, it tells me that I can't be African and look the way I do.
When people tell me that I don't look African, I always ask myself, What does an African look like? To say that a person doesn't look African can come across as defensive and even ignorant. I know that every culture has distinct features but Africa is such a large continent with many different tribes and groups of people. There are white Africans in South Africa, there are Indian looking Africans in Ethiopia. African features vary all across the continent.
I just had to vent about this topic because it's something I've dealt with all my life. Just not fitting in where I belong just because of certain features or perceptions of what an African is supposed to look like. It's important to realize that you don't have to be mixed to be seen as beautiful. You can have certain features and belong to a certain culture without being mixed. Have you dealt with a similar situation, comment your thoughts below?