Growing up in a multi-racial family, I have seen and heard about a lot of things in my short 19 years, but those things have helped shape me into who I am today. Here are six things that I've noticed from my experience in a multi-racial family.
Pro: Not knowing exactly what you are
My whole life I have been told I am German, Dutch, Polish, French, Native American, Japanese, and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and a little bit of something else, but when you do the math, it just doesn't add up. My mom is white, she is the side I get the German, Dutch, French, and Polish from meaning I am 50% Caucasian. The rest comes from my dad. I am 5/16 (31%) Native American, meaning so far I have 81% of my makeup done. But that doesn't add up because I should be 1/8 (12.5%) Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and 1/8 (12.5%) Japanese. I may know what I am, but I don't know for sure, which is what makes it exciting because now we have easy genealogy and DNA websites where I can go and get closer to figuring out what I am.
Con: Being mistaken for a different ethnicity.
So the stories I am about to tell you actually come from my father. My father is commonly mistaken for a Hispanic (though he doesn't look like it at all) and has on multiple occasions be told/asked very racist things. The first story is from when my parents were enrolling me in kindergarten, and they went in to talk to the Principle and Vice-Principle. They asked my mother, in front of my father, if he would need a Spanish translator and if I would need to be enrolled in ESL. Now my father can't speak a lick of Spanish, even though he took it in High School.
This second story actually happened recently at my fathers work. The day after Trump was elected, a white co-worker walked up to my father and another person of color and said: "You guys ready to be sent back to where you are from?", my father responded with something along the lines of "I'm Native." It shut the guy up, but it still wasn't remotely appropriate for the guy to say.
Pro: Sunburns turning into a nice tan
A good thing about being Multi-racial is the fact that after you burn, you don't just stay the same color, but you actually get darker. Personally, for me, I burn and when I peel is actually when you see the tan.
Con: Not getting a service done for us.
Now, this might not be relatable for a lot of people due to the fact that Oregon is one of the very few states where pumping your own gas is illegal in many parts, but it's a very real thing that can happen. This is another story from when I was a child, my parents and I were in southern Oregon and needed gas, but when they pulled into a gas station, they sat there for about 20 minutes, cars around them getting help, in fact, cars which came in after they were getting help and leaving, but my parents just sat there, not getting their gas pumped.
Now I know a few of you might think that they were just busy, or thought they were already helped, or it wasn't racism, but south Oregon is more racist than people think, and the workers looked my parents over and saw me, and just refused to help them, so my parents had to go to a different gas station in the town.
Pro: Learning about other cultures from the inside
Due to the fact that I am so many different things, I can get first-hand real experiences with the ethnic groups I belong to! I know that sounds weird, but if you don't look it, you won't be treated the same way. Here is a fun story about my mom. My family went to Hawaii and were staying with my relatives, and well, they live in the very non-touristy parts, and my mother is very white. Like the whitest of all whites. Well, my Great-great grandmother asked her to go down the hill to the grocery store to pick something up, but when she got there, no one would talk to her or help her. It wasn't until my father, who she had to call, came down to help her, did the rest of the Native's realize she was part of the big Hawaiian family and greet her.
Now before you guys yell about how people can be racist to white people, just remember what the white people did to the world before you get all mad.
Con: Not being enough of one thing to get benefits
Benefits are a big thing when you get older, whether they come as scholarships or financial aid or something else if you are enough of one thing, you can most likely get money or help. And that is where it becomes a problem if you are so mixed. Even though I am Native, I don't get any benefits due to the fact I am not "native enough" meaning my tribe doesn't recognize me as a member.
There are good and bad things about everything, but when they directly impact you, there is a big difference. Being multi-racial isn't always easy, but I wouldn't trade my heritage for anything.