Finding A Mixed-Race Racial Identity In A Black And White Society
Start writing a post

DISCLAIMER: Before I begin this piece, I want to clarify a few things. First, my title is absolutely not meant to be taken literally. Our society is black and white in a metaphorical sense. Secondly, I am only one aspect of the huge conglomeration of people that make up the label “mixed-race,” and so I can only personally relate to one type of experience. However, I hope that other people who are members of different mixed ethnicities can look past my specifics and relate to the general point I am trying to make.

The other day, one of my classes was engaged in a discussion about race. It was really interesting to hear the perspectives of several different students of varying ethnicities as they discussed their personal experiences, and although most of the discussion was nothing I hadn’t heard before, I didn’t speak up to tell my personal story. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that I’m not big on participating in class in general, but I think an equally important factor is that when it comes to race, I don’t quite know where I stand.

I am a quarter black and three quarters white, and as stupid as it sounds to boil it down to a fraction like that, it’s important because it explains the fact that I don’t have a fully black parent. I only have one fully black grandparent.

It also explains why my appearance is such a big part of my identity.

Before you cast me off as vain, I want to explain what I mean. I don’t really look like the typical white person, or the typical black person, and this tends to confuse people. I’m used to it now, but all my life I’ve gotten a parade of questions about my appearance because it doesn’t immediately reveal what my race is. People have guessed that I’m from places all over the world, and yet no one has ever guessed correctly.

It may not seem like a real problem, but what comes with constantly being the brunt of people’s guesswork is a kind of inability to figure out what race it is that does define me.

I grew up in a predominantly white, upper middle class area. People always assumed I was white and went tanning a lot. (I have never been inside a tanning salon in my life). As a result, I suppose my identity can be most closely paired with the typical white, middle-class American.

But then how do I explain the fact that I have an entire black side of family? I don’t speak up during race debates because I don’t feel justified, because I guess I tend toward my white side, but deep down I know I’m more than just that. Maybe you can’t tell by looking at me, but overall I don’t totally fit perfectly in one or the other category. I don’t totally identify as a white person because I’m not. And I don’t totally identify as a black person because I’m not.

I don’t want to add to the cacophony of voices that claim lack of representation in society, but as a mixed-race person I truly don’t feel like I have it. It seems that to be mixed-race means to always have to pick a race, depending on the situation. It’s about picking to either identify as black or identify as white.

And maybe that’s made me adaptable, and maybe because of the way I grew up I feel more comfortable posing as one side rather than the other, but the fact remains that I shouldn’t ever have to choose. I am two parts of a whole. I am not black and white, I am one whole person made up of my own unique blend of two races.

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

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.

220307

Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

368718

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1767465

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments