America is the land of the free, and the home of the brave. The American Dream rings throughout our nation and saturates the minds of citizens in foreign countries around the world. Because of America’s hope-filled slogan, cultures world-wide find themselves drawn in by the allure of endless possibilities. With multiple ethnicities converging on one spot, a melting pot of a country is born. Due to the mixing of cultures and races, many Americans find themselves stuck in-between the “fill in your race” bubbles.
Multicultural, half, mixed, biracial, mutt and “more than one ethnicity” are ways to describe people like myself: people stuck in-between the bubbles. I have had interesting experiences due to the fact that I am half white and half black. I was not able to attend the Black Student’s Conference in high school because I marked “Caucasian” instead of “Black; African American” on the “choose one ethnicity that describes you best” school documentation. My mother loves to tell the story of when I was two, sitting in a shopping cart with her at the grocery story. The cashier complimented my wild head of hair and ask my mother when I was adopted. My father, any chance he gets, will talk about the time they were at an airport gate conversing with a fellow passenger. After my mother and I came back from the restroom and the stranger saw our family as a whole, he asked if my brother and I were from my father’s first marriage.
When my family tells these stories, they are seen as nothing more than lighthearted mishaps. Quirky and awkward moments brought about by blindly ignorant people. But no one ever talks about the aftermath of these events. No one ever talks about how it feels to have to choose which half of you to document. Which half of you is more worthy of a bubble on the ethnicity section. In every aspect of society, I feel as though I am being forced to choose one over the other. Although I am 50% black and 50% white, I am never black enough to be considered black and I am not white enough to be considered white. My white friends throughout junior high called me their little thug and would ask if I had family in the ghettos of California. My black friends through high school would call me Oreo, “… because you’re black on the outside, but you act so white on the inside.”
I am always stuck in a constant tug-of-war between how I view my race and how society perceives my skin color. Trying to fit all of the positive stereotypes while simultaneously trying my best to avoid fitting the negative ones. Having to hear and see the white portion of myself disregarded time and time again because I do not look the part. People of multiple races are being pushed towards a fork in the road; we are being forced to choose which part of ourselves is worth more than the other. Are you black? Or are you white? Are you of Hispanic decent? Or are you Native American? People in our society could build a human body from scratch because of our in-depth knowledge of biology. Our society has sent people to the moon and back. We have completely eradicated numerous, once deadly, diseases because of the invention of the vaccine. Yet, I am still told to pick the one race that describes me best.