The teenager's comment replayed in my head throughout my adolescence. Before, I hadn't even given it a second thought that my skin color was different than that of my father's.
There is a demographic shift happening in the U.S. We are more diverse than ever. As a biracial mom of four, this is an exciting time. As one of the fastest growing populations, gone are the days where we have to choose one box or identify with one culture. We are more fluid and free to self-identify
The timing of Dolezal's racial transition is extremely important. She benefitted from the inherited privileges of whiteness while growing up and through most of her adult life, then she later exploited light-skinned privilege while identifying as an ethnically mixed person.
The current atmosphere of police brutality shows that many men of color continue to live in a police state in the 21st century United States. When racial profiling, police brutality, and general discrimination are proven to be systematic in our society then we should all be pushing for actions that create change together.
We live in a country where race is a dichotomy and people are literally separated into categories of black and white -- but human identities are not that simple. When speaking about my own racial identity, it is impossible not to also talk about my ethnic identity.
Let Raven-Symoné act and sing; let Pharrell make music; let Oprah interview them. If their comments surrounding race, sexuality, culture, or equality spark conversations that help us move to a better understanding of these and other important issues then they've done more than what's in their job descriptions.
When we are finished, when empty tubes scatter on the pavement and upturned buckets congregate near the swing-set, I find I'm in no rush to change out of my clothes. Instead, I settle on a step, face the bright blue sky, inhale the spirit of the celebration, and let the colors seep in.
I'm single. And I live in NYC. And I'm really busy just like everyone else here, so I decided to give Internet dating a try. In the midst of the flood of ever-creative messages simply reading "hi" or "let's chat," there were an overwhelming number of messages asking: "What are you?"
I'm pretty sure there is no box for that. You might need a suitcase for all of that. And knowing that will not likely help you to relate to me, understand me or know me any more than you did five seconds ago.
As a professor and author who studies diversity and communication, not to mention a multiracial individual and future parent, I'm interested mostly in what's hiding behind questions like "what are you, exactly?"