So I found this list that a psychologist created of 50 experiences a mixed raced person has probably had, and it’s pretty spot on. If you’re not of mixed race, this might be something you haven’t seen before, and you’ll probably be confused as to why these things matter to us so much. Here are some answers:
- We’ve been dealing with it our entire lives.
- Whenever you question us, you question us. Our self image is constantly being taken apart by questioning, disbelief, and prejudice. So our identity becomes this fragile sculpture made of mismatching parts and held together by weak adhesives. When you call us into question, you casually knock the sculpture off the shelf without apologizing.
- We’ve trained ourselves not to blame the insensitive person. we blame it on ourselves, our parents, or God. Believe me, we’d much rather blame you, but we’re too well trained.
- We are tragically underrepresented. It’s not like we don’t have rights, but we don’t have much empathy. Our plight is pretty specific, and we get that, so we kind of just accept remaining that (excuse this most heinous of puns) gray area. But I have friends that struggle with gender identity, and I’ve found that they have similar grievances against our binary society.
The 50 questions or comments and experiences evolved from a questionnaire I developed for a study on biracial siblings I conducted from 1996 to 1997. These questions and comments provide an introduction to the way in which race consciousness is brought up directly, sideways, and from all sides for people of mixed heritage.
These comments and questions, though not an exhaustive list, provide a window into how this country internalizes assumption about race, belonging, and identity. They socialize the mixed race person to understand as well as question race American style.
It is a monoracial system; one race per person. Not everyone experiences these questions or comments the similarly. One person might enjoy being asked, “What are you?” whereas their sibling might dread and resent the question. This list provides a launching point for sharing, discussing, laughing, debriefing, and educating.