Finding Unity Within Division

a glimpse of my understanding & expression of how I can become a whole person in what feels like a broken world

Rachel Brown
5 min readJul 3, 2020

Some years ago two people loved beyond society’s boundaries. Here I am, living and learning about life because of that.

Being born mixed you inevitably inherit distinct opportunities and demands, many of which I looked over the importance of when growing up. I now see how these experiences shaped me and my life so much more clearly. I grew up seeing life through the lens of color from the two biggest and most positive influences in my life — my parents. One summer I’d be in Ohio waking up to my grandma Evelyn’s homemade country biscuits and gravy with fried apples and the following summer I’d be in Alabama shelling peas next to my grandma Fannie as the setting sun beat on that red dirt road. During junior high I’d spend one year being “the goofy and ghetto-acting girl” amongst an all -white group of friends that I so badly wanted the acceptance of, followed by another school year of then being “the most white and proper-sounding girl” in a new group of friends that I desired to be just like. There I was, constantly feeling like I need to have a certain look, feeling like I must be equally connected to both cultures, and feeling societal pressures to align with one side and one side only. Growing up I told myself well if i’m going to fight to prove to the people who know a little about me that both sides of me are equal, then should I not carry this same cause for the world that I live in? That mindset was a territory that birthed a lot of confusion, passion, hope, regret, eagerness, and every other emotion under the sky. All of these conflicting emotions I have had to (and still) deal with. I adopted that mindset because I started to understand that if I — consisting of two differing ethnicities — would experience inner turmoil to any extent, then how much more unrest and uncertainty amongst all people exists in this world.

I’ve wondered if I found myself in the constant state of proving who I am as diverse yet equal way too often. is it really too often? is this the mindset and mentality i should always carry? that all people should carry? on behalf of the all ethnicities and diverse communities? is this the outlook that we as humanity should be striving to understand? I ask those questions because I now comprehend the most important thing I grew up learning was how to understand both sides of a story, argument, or perspective before offering my thought, belief, or opinion. For that is so badly how I longed to be treated from each and every new presence in my life, from childhood and even until this day.

Following that realization was a search for my identity or purpose, if you will. Now don’t get me wrong, I would consider this an ongoing mission, as I still have my bad days where the mold of who I hope to become gets jaded. It has been a unique search for meaning, and once I found it in God I started to see the importance of expressing this love of God from my understanding. This is when my biggest dreams and prayers were founded in the desire that I would live my life in a way that serves as a glimpse of potential to others, a beacon of hope toward the change that could exist in our world. In all of this consideration of who I was made to be I was brought back to the basics of a family and comprehending what that means to me. Seeing how a union is a sign of all loving possibilities and the fruit of that union becomes a sign of that shared love. We as humanity exist on land, from all around the world. All through history and even now a union signifies the marriage of land. So as people choose to associate, connect, and unify we can see land that is healed by love —I see this as figuratively as I do metaphorically. If we choose to, we will also see where the fruit of that united land bears a representation of beauty so real — an expression of love, with power to heal.

We must remember in order to move toward this unity that is founded on a healed and whole land, there is personal responsibility to be taken first.

We have all heard (or even said) phrases like “being black in america is hard” or “growing up mixed is a challenge” or “living with racist family members seems impossible.” I’ve come to the conclusion that not one person’s life isn’t met with challenges of all different shapes and sizes. Understanding that much, I believe the task at hand is to look inward instead of outward. Be responsible enough to ask ourselves the tough questions before speaking on someone else’s experience. Question our times of adversity with “What exactly about this is hard for me? And why? What am I experiencing as a struggle or a challenge? What am I learning because of this?” I’m convinced that taking time to inquire about ourselves and address our findings during what feels like our most tumultuous times is a necessity if we want to maneuver our way towards those life lessons we all eventually learn.

As a kid, young person, and now an adult I prayed that I would be a person who would make way for change, remain a help not a hindrance, shining a light on the differences that benefit humanity. So as I remember that change always starts with me, I will stay hopeful. And this is because I have been able to search my own person, so much so, that I have found the unity within myself who — by worldly definition — is a mixed human.