A collection of perspectives on mixed race and mixed identity in the U.S. that I hope will help people to understand the wide range of experiences mixedness and multiraciality that occur in our country.

thenaive:

I don’t get it. How can all of these Hapa people be proud of themselves and okay? I’m a “hapa” and I’ve suffered from identity issues since I was a child. Am I white? Am I Korean? How can I even fit in these worlds?

Okay yes, part of this is due to the fact that the United States is a mono-racial based society. Where your most prominent feature is what you are seen as. And what sucks for me is that my Asian features decided to take all of the European features away from me. Perhaps if I identified with my Korean heritage I’d be better off. 

But I repeat my question. How the fuck do you other Hapa’s deal with it? How can you just simply embrace both sides so perfectly? Is it because you were blessed with a face that was so ambiguous you could get away with it? Did you identify with Asian for a majority of your life? 

Christ, I don’t think I realized how much jealousy and compassion I would feel studying the development of multiracial identity..

annefrankenmuth:

i find it very distressing. and the first time it happens, i correct people. “actually, i feel more comfortable with ‘multiracial’”. but i feel like people take that as a cue to ignore me and continue with calling me whatever they feel like, as if my race has anything to do with them.

i guess what i’m trying to say is not anything necessarily groundbreaking, but one that has been coming up more and more lately and it’s obnoxious. to me, calling me ‘mixed’ is essentially a slur. it brings up a lot of memories about being called ‘mixed up’ and makes me feel like people are trying to create this other race, so that i don’t infect theirs. it makes some people uncomfortable when i invade two communities, instead of just being okay with whatever their idea of me is.

i have a friend who insists on calling me mixed. “i’m not racist and i’m not trying to hurt your feelings, but nobody knows what i’m talking about when i say that your mom is white and your dad is black. i’m just gonna say mixed, because it’s too hard to say all that.”

wow, i’m sorry that you had to go through that hardship. really. my heart goes out to you. 

it all boils down to the fact that i don’t really care what labels other people feel comfortable with assigning me. i don’t exist to make you feel comfortable. 

because guess what

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU

i don’t like being just called black and that being the end of it. my mother is white. i don’t appreciate people erasing my mother. while she and i have not always gotten along, she is still the woman who gave birth to me, who helps me, and who puts up with my bullshit. i don’t want her to be erased. she is part of my identity as much as my father is. why doesn’t my mother get represented in the creation of me?

i am black, but i am also white, and for some reason, that makes people’s brains explode? some of my friends have claimed that it’s difficult to describe me if they can’t say mixed. but i think that’s a pretty big bag of bullshit. you can say that i’m awesome, funny, gregarious, that i watch too much tv and have a massive crush on cheesecake and all other pies

i know i’m rambling, but basically

i wish people would just ask me what i felt comfortable with before they just shot off at the mouth and described me

mixed-raceproblems:

I remember the first time I, the daughter of a Vietnamese immigrant and an Irish-American, encountered the race box. We were in the third grade and my teacher told everyone they should fill in the Caucasian circle (it was a Catholic school in Ohio and there were only white kids in my grade) but told me to fill in the “other” circle since my mother was Asian. I asked why I couldn’t fill in both and she told me that wasn’t how it worked. Sometimes I feel like life is like that. Being mixed means you don’t fit into their circle or box. It isn’t convenient. I worried about that every time I took a test. Checking just one or the “other” box meant I didn’t count towards the Asians or the Caucasians. That gave me so much anxiety. I was always the only mixed kid until high school (public in Georgia, USA), the only one who had to fill in “other” so it felt like I was something from another planet. These days they’ve gotten with the times and for the most part you can check more than one box. But I’ll never forget the time when they made me choose.

irishthanhy

A conversation between the two authors about their experiences growing up multiracial and the consequences of increased awareness about mixed raceness for the conversation on race in our country. Additionally, there’s a really great comment section below the article.

"Race and ethnicity play a critical role in finding a marrow match for those suffering from fatal blood diseases. It is a lesser-known fact that in order for a marrow or stem cell match to occur between a patient and a donor, genetic markers on cells must line up.  Because these markers are inherited from parents, their children are a blend both of their parents’ markers.  Thus, for mixed patients, their mono-racial parents and relatives will not likely be a match, and their siblings only hold about a 1 in 4 chance of being a match. Many markers on the cells are specific to certain ethnic groups so multiethnic people have a difficult time when their tissue typing has unusual or uncommon combinations.  To put this in perspective, if your background is Egyptian, Japanese, and Russian, there is a likely chance that only another person with a similar ethnic blend could be a possible donor if you are diagnosed with leukemia."

multiracial:

If you’re over the age of 25 and want to help out with a multiracial study, check out the request below. (As a racially ambiguous person myself, I give it a thumbs up :) -Jay)


Hello! My name is Shirley Newcomb, and I am a fourth-year doctoral student in counseling psychology at Marquette University. I am currently seeking volunteers to participate in my dissertation research examining racial miscategorization and identity development of racially ambiguous multiracial individuals.

As a person of mixed raced heritage and racially ambiguous features, you have the opportunity to contribute to the growing body of research related to multiracial identity development and well being. In order to participate you must be at least 25 years of age. The study has been reviewed and approved by Marquette University’s Institutional Review Board. Participation in this study involves 2 digitally recorded, telephone interviews. The first interview will take about 45 to 60 minutes; the second interview is scheduled for approximately 2 weeks after the first and will take about 20-25 minutes.

The focus of the interviews will be on your personal experiences of being racially miscategorized (i.e. having others racially identify you differently than you identify yourself), your reactions and feelings towards these events, and your racial identity development. You will be provided with the interview protocol prior to the interview so that you can see the questions participants will be asked. Files, as well as the resulting transcripts and data, will be assigned a code number to protect your confidentiality; after transcription, files will be erased.

I recognize that there is a slight chance that talking about your experiences of racial miscategorization and multiracial identity development may be uncomfortable, and I am grateful for your willingness to do so. Participation in this project is strictly voluntary, and you may withdraw your consent at any time without penalty.

If you choose to participate, please contact me at shirley.newcomb@mu.eduand I will email you the necessary forms and contact you to set up a time for an initial interview. I will also send the interview protocol so that you may make fully informed consent. Please take a look at these questions prior to your first interview so that you have had a chance to reflect on your experiences. If you do not meet the criteria for participation, I would be grateful if you would pass this request along to a colleague who might be interested in participating.

Appreciatively,

Shirley A, Newcomb, M.A., Doctoral Candidate
Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
College of Education
Marquette University
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Phone: (414) 477-6725
shirley.newcomb@marquette.edu

Lisa M. Edwards, Ph.D., Dissertation Advisor
Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
College of Education
Marquette University
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-1433
lisa.edwards@marquette.edu

cutwhileshaving:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as being a child of interracial parents—this is something a lot of interracial couples have asked me (and I guess the person who messaged me, too?)—is that you very much want to fit in, find your niche, find some hold to your parents identity because you want something to cling to. The truth is, though, that no matter how hard you try, that doesn’t really happen. You’re left to identify yourself, and there’s really no right or wrong answer there. The only solidarity you really have is the fact that there are other children of mixed race, too. 

Of course, everyone has their own take on that, and I don’t speak as an ambassador for multiracial children or anything, but that’s how I’ve always felt. My experience is a personal one, different aspects have shaped my view point (even my brother and I don’t see eye-to-eye on that one). Being looked at as “other” is weird, let’s be honest. I don’t get the blatant racism my dad faces, but I don’t get the same privilege my mom has when not with us (and by us, I mean me, my brother, or my dad.) Being disowned by your grandfather forever because he’s racist sucks, getting your car dismantled by the KKK sucks even more, but those are scrapes that come with the territory, and can happen to any PoC or minority group. 

I mean, that incident took place when I was six, so 1997? Don’t get me wrong, my dad’s family members and family friends are just as quick to jump on my brother and I for being partially white, lighter skinned, and “white sounding” (whatever that means, I haven’t quite figured out yet) or some of my friends are quick to introduce me as the “white one” with no hesitation, like it’s a disclaimer. Completely disregarding the rest of me, and yeah, maybe I need better friends, but I think it has more to do with ignorance to a culture that no one, not even us, really understand. Things are different, and I would like to believe, better. 

Children of interracial parents have it better today, I think. I mean, I always think my brother and I have it so much better because we were born in the early nineties and not, let’s say, the 1960’s, 70’s or 80’s. Anything before that, and I just grimace. I imagine it must have sucked, unless they lived in some Utopia far away from most civilization. Statistically, there are more mixed children now then ever recorded, and that’s got to mean something good, right? I hope it does.

I think one of the most difficult aspects of being mixed, is that there’s endless possibilities of what a person can be. Just because you’re mixed, doesn’t mean your the same mixture as me. Can you see where that gets a little confusing? My mom’s Caucasian and Native American, and my dad’s Puerto Rican of African and Taino influence. My mix is not going to be every other multiracial persons mix. Am I confusing people, yet? Maybe.

Trust me, it makes my brain hurt too. What I go through may not be what another multiracial person ever goes through. Everyone’s experience is going to be different. Let’s say someone is mixed like me, exactly like me, but they grow up in Puerto Rico and not the United States, is their experience going to be different from mine? More than likely. How are their families attitudes towards race? Do their grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on have an issue with their son/daughter/brother/sister/whoever marrying outside their race? Do Black and White mixes have a different experience than White and Hispanic mixes? What about Black and Hispanic mixes compared to Asian and Black, or Asian and Hispanic? What about the multiracial children who have multiracial parents?

Family dynamics also play a huge role. I grew up in a two parent household. I was introduce to both sides of my parents collective cultures. Not everyone does. What about the multiracial children who are raised with only one presence in their life? You can’t expect them to embrace a side of themselves they don’t know. Or what if they do? What if they do want to know that side of themselves, and have no where to go with that? I know plenty of multiracial people who identify as one thing, and one thing only, and like I said, it’s a very personal thing. Just like you can’t tell me I can’t chose “M” on my FCAT as a kid, you can’t tell them they have to select “M” on their FCAT if they don’t want to. 

You have to come into your own skin as a person. I believes this applies to everyone, but it most certainly applies to children of mixed race. You can’t force us to identify as you see fit. It’s a personal decision, and it may be simple, or it may take some time. The topic is on going, and as a child of mixed race you’d think I’d know more about our politics, but I’m just as confused when it comes down to it. You have a large group of people with different backgrounds, different racial makeups, the only thing we have in common is, surprisingly, being mixed. 

Being other.

larepublicadedet:

always-follow-the-sun:

larepublicadedet:

International Year for People of African-descent
In photo -
Members of the Garifuna community near Tela, Honduras. The Garifuna people are of mixed African, Arawak, and Carib ancestry and native to the Caribbean Coast in Central America.

These people do not look mix. What’s wrong with just being African?

Yeah, this isn’t about ‘looking’ mixed. You do realize that most people are not purely any one race, yes? And that the State mandates how we perceive people to look, be, what race they are, yes? This isn’t to say that racial grouping isn’t real, that would be absurd, - not saying that at all because I am Black and come from Black families - although two different ethnicities. The description of African, Arawak, and Carib is significant because that is their lineage. Not all ‘mixed’ people (technically) are light-skin with a particular eye color and a particular hair texture, even though this is the popular gaze of a ‘mixed’ person, and even though that type of mixed person can receive a variety of social privileges. I would also say highlighting these 3 important components is culturally relevant and linguistically relevant. In my opinion, it’s mad ethnocentric to require people to ignore the intersections of the histories at play in their country, lives, etc.

Hear hear! Even though this stretches the geographic boundaries of this blog just a little bit, I think we can take the hemispheric view of America and American Studies and say, “well said.”

larepublicadedet:

always-follow-the-sun:

larepublicadedet:

International Year for People of African-descent

In photo -

Members of the Garifuna community near Tela, Honduras. The Garifuna people are of mixed African, Arawak, and Carib ancestry and native to the Caribbean Coast in Central America.

These people do not look mix. What’s wrong with just being African?

Yeah, this isn’t about ‘looking’ mixed. You do realize that most people are not purely any one race, yes? And that the State mandates how we perceive people to look, be, what race they are, yes? This isn’t to say that racial grouping isn’t real, that would be absurd, - not saying that at all because I am Black and come from Black families - although two different ethnicities. The description of African, Arawak, and Carib is significant because that is their lineage. Not all ‘mixed’ people (technically) are light-skin with a particular eye color and a particular hair texture, even though this is the popular gaze of a ‘mixed’ person, and even though that type of mixed person can receive a variety of social privileges. I would also say highlighting these 3 important components is culturally relevant and linguistically relevant. In my opinion, it’s mad ethnocentric to require people to ignore the intersections of the histories at play in their country, lives, etc.

Hear hear! Even though this stretches the geographic boundaries of this blog just a little bit, I think we can take the hemispheric view of America and American Studies and say, “well said.”

larepublicadedet:

Identity is not linear.

All Latin@s don’t know how to dance salsa, bachata, merengue, etc. Yes, there are plenty who do.

Some Latin@s love hip hop, some consider themselves Hip Hop Heads …

In the same way African-Americans have questions about their ancestry, where people came from and why, so do Latin@s.

Yes, Black Latin@s and African-Americans have babies (*waves*) … this does not make that child the epitome of assimilation … people fuck have sex and sometimes babies are produced, get over it …

It is possible to be the only self-identifying ‘Black’ one in a Latin@ family.

It is possible to be the only self-identifying ‘Latin@’ one in a blended African-American/Latin@ family.

Racialization can vary as simply across siblings.

It is possible to have an entire family that’s Latin@ who also identifies as Black.

It is possible to have an entire family that’s Latin@ who people may think ‘looks’ Black, but they don’t identify as Black.

Not all Latin@ groups know about ALL OTHER Latin@ groups.

It’s possible to have a Black/Latin@ family who identifies primarily as Caribbean … or solely by nationality … and not as ‘Black’ or ‘Latin@’ at all.

Some Latin@s identify as ‘Hispanic,’ not ‘Latin@.’ Sometimes these differences are connected to class.

It is possible to have Latin@ families where some people speak Spanish and some don’t … where Spanglish & AAVE are interwoven (or not).

It is possible for Afro-Latin@s to ALSO (or simply only) identify as African-American … or not.

It is possible to have generations who speak Spanish and generations who speak English with some family members acting as language brokers for those groups.

It is possible to have Latin@s who also identify as West-Indian.

People can have families domestically and/or abroad. Sometimes, entire families move to the States.

This is all I feel like writing right now … #frustrated

mixed-girl-problems:

I’m half Hungarian, a quarter Finnish (or is it Mongolian?), an eighth Native American (Cherokee and Seminole) and an eighth Irish. Hungarians are typically associated with the Roma (gypsy) people. The Roma/Romani are originally from India… Hungarians are considered white, but the exact tribes that they originated from are unknown. This confuses me. My family is also from Finland. But not really. My family was actually traced back a couple of generations to Mongolia. So I don’t know whether to call myself Finnish or Mongolian. My family is also from Georgia and Florida. And by that, I mean that the Cherokee and Seminole tribes that they belong to are from there. Actually, some of my mother’s relatives still live on a reservation. Her grandparents are full NA. And yet, I’m “too white” to claim being a Native. I’m the same amount of Irish as I am Native American. However, people always seem to count the Irish part and ignore the NA part.

I have really pale white skin, large hazel almond shaped NA eyes, a white nose, pin straight, flat and thick NA hair, and a square jaw.

I’ve been told that I’m just white. My Mongolian (or “Finnish”?) and Native American heritage don’t count. I’m confused.

What am I?