BLACK VOICES

9 Stories That Powerfully Capture What It's Like To Be Multiracial

“You don’t need to fit a mold that other people think you should fit.”

Multiracial Americans are a fast-growing segment of the U.S. population — growing three times as fast as the population as a whole, according to a 2015 Pew report. While multiracial individuals share some common experiences, their experiences overall— from progress to prejudices — are as diverse as their backgrounds. 

We've gathered 9 of our most popular stories that give a glimpse into what it's like to be multiracial, from personal blog posts on growing up mixed race to reflections on racial identity. 

Women of the HuffPost Women and HuffPost Black Voices Facebook community shared what they wish they could tell the world about the experience of being mixed-race. 

Our identities sometimes make it tough to “belong.” “Society has a habit of trying to box you into one category or another, whether it be gender, religion, race, etc., and when you fall in between those lines it can be really hard to fit in.” — Nadhia, age 20, Florida

 [My son] is mixed, but the same rules apply. Do NOT randomly walk up and touch his hair, his skin, his anything... EVER. He is not exotic. He is a human being, not a curly-haired creature for your inspection. 

“I never saw myself as different until someone else pointed it out,” one woman said. She later added, “You don’t need to fit a mold that other people think you should fit.”

The idea of having my father mistaken for a stranger wasn’t something that really registered with me until I was older. My mom and I were both brown, but my dad and I were both Jewish. Two of a kind on either side. It wasn’t until I was older that the fact that I didn’t get to be in control of how other people saw me, and by extension what they saw when they looked at my dad and I, honestly came as a shock of hurt. Because we didn’t immediately register as looking like the family unit norm, society told me that he and I weren’t two of a kind after all; not really.

As a multiracial kid growing up in the 80’s, I felt different. I was born in Puerto Rico to a Black father and Mexican mom. After Puerto Rico, we moved to Hawaii. Being a military brat stationed in Puerto Rico then Hawaii meant I was also labeled a Third Culture Kid raised in a culture outside of my parents’ cultures due to their military status. California finally became home and I felt like I didn’t quite belong. I wasn’t Black enough, or Mexican enough. I wasn’t Puerto Rican or Hawaiian. It was hard for me to find my place in the world.

We asked our readers to tell us what comments multiracial women are tired of hearing. 

“So where are you from?”

It’s a question most mixed-race women are intimately familiar with. And usually, the person asking isn’t looking for the name of the town you grew up in, but a detailed breakdown of your racial background.

America’s population is becoming increasingly multiracial, but questions and comments from strangers about my mixed-race status haven’t slowed down yet — and I doubt I’m alone.

Looking back on the project, photographer CYJO said she learned a great deal throughout her experience with the mixed-race families she photographed. “[W]hat I find intriguing about these families is that they defy the border and racial conflicts that we read about or may have experienced. Although there can be some complexities that hint at the tensions and differences from the power of heritage, these portraits and narratives illustrate how their love naturally crosses boundaries.”

“You are going to have the cutest mixed babies!”

That statement is one that YouTube vlogger and host of MTV News Decoded, Franchesca Ramsey, says that she hears too often when people find out that she is in an interracial marriage.

In her latest video, Ramsey, whose husband is white, reveals some of the unintentionally offensive comments that people have said regarding her future children and their interracial family. 

9. 

I identify as multiracial. So I wrestle with this question of choice and racial identity. What rights to our own racial identity do we have? Do we have any? It would seem there’s what we are, what we say we are, and what we are allowed to be. To me they each carry different weight depending on the day. Is our experience the major determining factor? Right now I’m inclined to say yes. Inclined to believe that how we are perceived and treated based on our skin color is the most important piece. But that also doesn’t make me feel any better, or any more whole.

HuffPost

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