“I am an African American,” says Duana Fullwiley, “but in parts of Africa, I am white.”
To do fieldwork as a medical anthropologist in Senegal, she says, “I take a plane to France, a seven- to eight-hour ride. My race changes as I cross the Atlantic. There, I say, ‘Je suis noire,’ and they say, ‘Oh, okay—métisse—you are mixed.’ Then I fly another six to seven hours to Senegal, and I am white.
In the space of a day, I can change from African American, to métisse, to tubaab [Wolof for “white/European”]. This is not a joke, or something to laugh at, or to take lightly. It is the kind of social recognition that even two-year-olds who can barely speak understand. ‘Tubaab,’ they say when they greet me.”
(Credit to Harvard magazine)