Being Biracial
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

What Hearing 'What Are You?' Feels Like, From The Eyes Of A Biracial Girl

Such a seemingly harmless phrase can hurt those who are of mixed race.


What are you?

What. Are. You?

What. A word that is usually used to describe a thing is now utilized to describe a person.

For the most part, people might find this phrase to rather harmless. But to some, it might be the beginning of trying to explain your whole family heritage to someone in order for them to understand.

Growing up biracial for me had always been a struggle. People are always quick to assume your race. For me, that meant that my tan skin and my curly hair would automatically categorize me as Latina. The amount of times I've had people come up to me speaking Spanish is ridiculous. I guess I don't help my situation either with being from the Bronx, a predominantly Latina area. However, being Latina couldn't be farther from the truth of who I am.

I'm half African American and Asian. No, that doesn't mean I'm Blasian either.

My dad is Haitian. My mom is Guyanese.

If you don't know where Guyana is, it's this small country located in South America with a complicated history. My mother's great-grandmother was originally brought over to Guyana as a slave from her native country, India. The country is now filled with many people whose ancestors are from India but also with people who are native to the country. Because of this complicated past, I usually have to go on and explain how I'm half brown from a country that's in South America.

Even though according to the U.S. Census, someone who is from Southeast Asia is considered Asian, that's not the normal picture that pops into someone's head when they think of the word Asian, but let's not get into that.

So in simpler terms, I'm half black and half brown.

Being these two races has always been hard. I didn't grow up with both my parents, just my mom. So growing up, I had a bit of an identity crisis. Whenever people asked me this dreaded question, I would always reply back with Guyanese. I didn't accept a part of myself because I couldn't. I didn't want to be part of someone who I didn't like.

I wanted to be my mother. But I couldn't really become that either.

I'm a part of two races who don't really get along. It usually forces me to chose one side over the other. It wasn't until recently I've come to grow into my skin and embrace being both.

It's hard and it gets harder when people ask questions about what you are and what box your identity fits into. So the next time I hear the words, "What are you?" instead of answering with the response and the breakdown I just gave, all I'm going to say is, I'm human.

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

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less

Fall Weather Must-Haves

Put away the swim suits and your favorite high-waisted shorts!


The transitional months of fall can cause some fashion headaches as you try to figure out what clothing to keep in your closet. With limited amount of college living space and the ever-unpredictable Nebraska weather, sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be taking up that precious closet space as you transition into winter. As you pack away those tanks and shorts for the chilly months ahead, get your closet ready with a few Fall must-haves. 

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Take a look at the articles driving big conversations on Odyssey.


At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Holidays With A Small Family

I wouldn't trade what we have for the world.

Matt Johnsn

When I was a kid I always went to my grandparents house whenever we celebrated any sort of holiday. We were a decently sized family and it was always a blessing to be in their house and surrounded by love during the holiday season. However, that all changed when my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The family then began to drift apart and life went on, and we ended up all celebrating our own holidays with other family members.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments