My Biracial Experience
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Lifestyle

My Biracial Experience

How my journey in life has been unique from many in the United States.

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My Biracial Experience

In this day and age, the world has become increasingly racialized once again, with topics of racism, inequality, and culture brought up seemingly every day. Sometimes, those of certain races are grouped together and expected to think/act a certain way. Here, I will share my experience of being biracial and how it differs from many in the United States.

I am half white, half Filipino. My dad is white, descending from mostly Polish and Irish-German ancestry, growing up in Northwest Indiana, about 40 minutes south of Chicago's Loop. My mom is Filipino, immigrated to the US from the Philippines at age seven, growing up on Chicago's North Side. They met at university and eventually married, settling in Northwest Indiana, 45 minutes east of where my dad grew up.

It is important to note that in my upbringing, race/ethnicity was never mentioned, meaning that idea of identity (and possible divide) wasn't there for me. My mom is clearly Asian, but has no accent, nor did we do much in terms of Filipino traditions, other than eating Filipino food at my grandma's flat in Chicago a few times a year. I am also much lighter skinned than many biracial people, so to many, I come off as "white" in appearance.

My hometown, Valparaiso Indiana, was about 80-90% white during my formative years. Despite what some would think about a majority white area and possible prevalence of racism or bias, this was never an issue for me. Other than a few insensitive comments made in high school made in a jokingly manner, there was never a particular instance of me being treated differently based on race. It's very possible that is due to my lighter skinned appearance, but it is what it is.

You might ask "what do you identify as?". To be honest, growing up, I just thought of myself as me and never put a label on myself as anything. Now, I guess I would put myself more so as white culturally, or just American. I don't have any accent, I was born here, and didn't grow up around Asians/Filipinos and those cultures.

My experience is clearly much different than many of mixed race ancestry. Asian-Americans are commonly reinforced with more positive stereotypes compared to black and Hispanic Americans. I am well aware of that distinction. I know that many people who are mixed have an identity crisis and/or are treated poorly by peers based on appearance or cultural characteristics.

I am fortunate to grow up in the upper middle class situation I was born into, living in a smaller, suburban community, not in a rural area where racism and racial bias is more prevalent. Back in the day, not even two generations ago, my existence may very well be seen as problematic. While plenty of work is still needed, I am thankful for the progress we've made over the last few decades as a society, and I'm lucky to not have been treated any differently based on my race and ethnicity.

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