Divided By Race: Allison's Story
A biracial woman struggles to find a sense of belonging.
Allison: My mother is white and my father is black. My dad's family rejected me because I was white. It's been very hard to deal with the rejection, because I want to be black. Growing up in an all-white world, I was somehow taught that black features were ugly because there was something wrong with being black. When I looked in the mirror I didn't understand why I looked the way I did. I felt very strange, like an alien, almost subhuman. I have no place that I fit and no place that I belong...

I have two children. My son Brandon is 7 and my daughter Charli is 2. I'm really afraid that they're going to ask me what color they are and I don't know what to tell them ... Dr. Phil, how do I accept that being mixed and from an interracial relationship is OK?
Dr. Phil:
How do you define yourself?

Allison: I don't. I feel completely empty. There is no place for me. Nowhere. I feel very lonely.

Dr. Phil: What's going on with you besides race? What about the rest of you? Your intelligence, feelings, talent, gifts and skills — things that define you besides your race?

Allison: I take pride in a lot of those things. But the race issue has become so big because the constant comments I got were about my appearance and race.

Dr. Phil: I want to talk to you about personal truth. It's what you really believe about yourself when you don't have your social mask on and are alone with your uncensored thoughts. I want to give you a high motivation for this because I believe you can't give what you don't have. You have two great children who want their mom. They want all of their mom and right now that isn't what they're getting.
Dr. Phil: Take back the power in your life. What you said is that you were told that appearance was all that mattered. If appearance was everything, I've got to tell you, girl, you have got that going on!

The audience applauds, making Allison blush.

Dr. Phil: You had people telling you [negative messages about race] for so long that when they finally stopped, you took over for them. You started telling yourself that you didn't fit or belong. You don't want your children seeing you sitting there not knowing where you belong. You know where you belong? In this world. You need to show them who their mother is and share your achievements and accomplishments with them...

The most important relationship you'll ever have is the one you have with yourself. And you haven't been there for you. Give your children what you didn't get. Don't let them define themselves racially. Make them define themselves for who they are on the inside.