As the years progressed in the news black men and boys have been victims of harassment and gun violence. Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant and many other victims that didn't get a name are left to be a symbol of the failed system. This brings fear to myself because I constantly think of my younger brother who is mixed and must face challenges every day while growing up. At these times, young people more than ever are more involved and aware of the circumstances around them. I wanted to have a discussion with my brother in better understand his hopes and fears.
Q: What do you love about your identity?
I don't feel different then others, I feel black and white. It kind of gives me this feeling of seeing everyone and myself the same as anyone else.
Q: When did you realize differences about yourself to others?
I realize differences once I got to middle school when people started asking me about my race and thinking I was Hispanic and not mixed, which started to shift my perspective about my own race.
Q: Do you think growing up in your generation is more accepting?
I do think growing up in this generation is more accepting because of the diversity and differences we have now.
Q: As you get older are there things you're more aware of as a multiracial adolescent?
As I get older, I am more aware of being black, seeing myself be sometimes treated differently than others especially at stores and in school seeing other kids sometimes intimidated just cause of how I look.
Q: Do people like to place you in a box because you're mixed and like to tell you what you should identify as?
I guess I am a little boxed in only ever being identified as black, everyone forgets that I'm white too but no one ever tries to get me to feel like I'm one or the other.
Q: Looking at the news of how minorities are treated unfairly, how does that make you feel?
Seeing minorities and black people being killed and shot at for no reason does get me scared especially when encountered by the cops making me think that I might get shot for no reason. Its sad growing up seeing my own race getting killed for reasons they shouldn't be just because of the color of their skin, it needs to stop.
Q: What are things that make you happy to be how you are?
I'm happy to be who I am, I love myself and my background, I'm proud of being a mixed person, getting to experience so much.
I want my brother and other black boys to understand that they are loved, and a community is there for them to keep them safe. They should be able to feel safe to walk down the street and be able to not make themselves small to conform to others. The stigma of a black boy being rough should shift to them being a multifaceted human with joy, intelligence, caring, humor in themselves. If they can not fight for themselves, then others must stand up and help. Next time another victim is in the news, please ask yourself what you can do to change this status quo.