A Word On Being Mixed
Start writing a post
Politics

A Word on Being Mixed

Check- and I cannot stress this enough- yourself.

5026
A Word on Being Mixed
https://unsplash.com/photos/THIs-cpyebg

When I grew up, people often forced me into playing a guessing game with them. The objective was to figure out "what I was." "Are you Mexican? Puerto Rican?" they'd ask. Then came the creative guesses: "Ooh, Guatemalan? Iranian??" Finally, when they'd run out of ideas, I'd say, "I'm black and white."

The response to the truth was always the same. "No, you're not black." I was always told I was lying or wrong about myself. Ah, yes, stranger, please tell me more about who I am.

They would say things like "But you're pretty" or "But your hair is nice." So at a young age, I learned that to a lot of people, black did not equal beautiful and that most people wouldn't easily grasp how I identify myself.

Flash forward to college when I had another run-in with my racial identity on a study abroad trip. A classmate and I were having a pleasant conversation inside of an Italian cathedral when he made a comment about me not looking American and that I could pass for European.

The conversation rolled on, but his comment struck me immediately. Why don't I look American? Because I'm brown? If my skin were white like his, would I then "look American" enough? Are America and Europe not comprised of every walk of life, including a multitude of shades that aren't white?

The same things are said online. Comment sections are full of claims that mixed people aren't "enough" of one race to be considered a part of it. People say we should "choose a side," or we straight-up get told we are not who we are.

Oftentimes, the ongoing discussion turns into one about the colorism deeply embedded in our society- an issue that calls for a separate article entirely. But the point is, regardless of how light or dark a mixed person's skin is, no one has the right to tell them who they are. We know who we are, and we don't need to argue otherwise.

What my biracial life has taught me is that people place their racial expectations on others depending on their individual perspectives. When you see someone and your brain can't immediately categorize them based on their appearance, it is not your place to decide their identity and force that on them.

You cannot tell a person who they are, "what" they are, or who they should be based on assumptions from your own understanding.

Although our brains feel safe categorizing this way, take a step back and think about why you feel the need to interact with someone a certain way based on what they look like. You might think that since America is becoming more mixed by the minute, we're past treating people like specimens to figure out before we can engage.

Wrong. Awkward conversations still happen to us every day. Sometimes with our own friends and family, not just curious coworkers and nosey strangers. If you must know, stop asking "What are you?" It's 2019, and we're over that. Maybe try, 'Would you mind my asking what race or ethnicity you identify as?"

Next time you might talk to someone you can't "figure out," try talking to them like a person you're used to talking to. (In other words, just be yourself.) When you come from an open perspective and care less about a person's racial makeup and more about who they are inside, interactions tend to go a lot smoother.

Being mixed can be confusing. Sometimes it's hard to balance identifying with two or more cultural groups. Sometimes it's hard to be yourself in a world that expects you to look and act like one thing when you are way more.

Sometimes it's hard to feel like you belong. And sometimes, it takes a lot of time to learn to love all the different parts of you.

So be polite, please. Don't ask if we're adopted. Don't ask if we're more one race than another so you can decide what is okay to say around us. Don't touch our hair. Don't say "You're pretty for a black/Asian/Native/etc girl." Don't debate our heritage with us. Don't stare. And don't try to box us into a category, because we don't fit in just one.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lum3n

Women are known to lug around heavy purses with unnecessary items inside. How many of these useful items do you keep in your own bag? We need to be prepared with a list of things to have with us whenever we leave the house again.

Keep Reading... Show less
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/13/harry-styles-fine-line-review-columbia

I personally love using song lyrics as my Instagram captions, especially from songs that I love or that mean a lot to me, and I happen to love Harry Styles and all of his songs! So I made a list of lyrics from each of his songs that you could use in your next Instagram caption.

Keep Reading... Show less

Everyone's been here. And, truthfully, it sucks. But in order to move on and get past something you need to allow yourself to feel it for what it is--all of the heartbreak and pain--and then you can start to take steps move on.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

11 Christmas Movies You'll Remember If You Were A 2000s Kid

Because I'm still reminiscing about simpler times.

16998

The Christmas season is coming to an end, but it's not too late to get some last-minute movies in! Unfortunately, this year didn't look like a typical Christmas. While we can't have any big Christmas parties or family gatherings, we can still celebrate at home! Christmas is the best time for nostalgia, and we could all use some warm and fuzzy feelings as we wrap up a tough year and enter a new one that hasn't been proven any calmer, either.

As a kid who grew up in the 2000s, I can think of some of my favorite staple Christmas movies. If you're looking for recommendations or just a walk down memory lane, check out the list below.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

9 Reasons 'The Wilds' Should Be Your Next Binge Watch

The Wilds is the Best New Show on Amazon Prime

11890
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/amazon-s-wilds-much-more-just-gender-swapped-lord-flies-ncna1250078

As we enter the new year, you might be looking for a great show to kick-off 2021. Look no further, I have the perfect recommendation. "The Wilds" was released on Amazon Prime last month and has been gaining traction steadily since then. This series of 10 one-hour episodes tells the stories of eight girls who find themselves on a deserted island after their plane crashed while they are on their way to a resort. Unlike other survival shows, there's a bit more to the story than what first meets the eye. This show is unique in characters, storytelling methods, and plot.

If you aren't convinced yet, allow me to provide you with a list of further persuasion.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Therapeutic Ways To Be Adventurous During The Pandemic

Add some music to reduce the COVID-anxiety a bit and perceive your surroundings as the elaborate setting of a land far, far away from home

3581

Even if we are not traveling abroad at the moment, we can still travel locally while maintaining social distancing and preventative guidelines. Sometimes, the little things in life seem the most fascinating and joyous to us compared to the flamboyant luxuries that we perhaps have a wishful desire for.

So, as a potential remedy for our travel necessity, I have listed 5 alternative ways in which you can relish your traveling desires during this pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

10 Things TikTok Made Me Buy, And Now My Life Is So Much Better

Where would I be without my Revlon hair dryer or CeraVe skin products?! Thanks, TikTok.

6889
CeraVe/Instagram

TikTok is a great way to see what products are trending. People are sharing tips and tricks about items that they use to make their life happier, healthier, or just easier.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments