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Being Mixed in a Black and White World

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

One could question how I could possibly understand what the Black struggle was since my skin is a pale yellow and my hair is curly. However, the Black experience was something I endured because of how I am perceived by America, it’s history, the way i grew up and the culture I connected with. I have a white grandmother and a Black grandmother, both still alive and married Black and brown men. Both my grandmothers in part expect me to adhere to my “roots” or “traditions” depending on which you ask :) but i think it’s important for biracial and multiracial individuals (because America is more than Black and white) to feel a sense of belonging. People like me make up less than 0.1% of the population. of the US population.

While I understand the difference in my opportunities because I am "racially confusing" and have gotten some opportunities in life simply because of how I look, being mixed isn’t always a privilege. It comes with being put on the sidelines when we so desperately want to fight along side our darker skinned brothers and sisters for equality. There is often a sense of being invited over but not invited in to our community. The myth that it is privilege to choose to be white or Black is inaccurate. I can’t choose race. Race is never a choice even when you think it is. It can be a curse in itself to be treated black and expected to act white. It’s survival. I never wanted to

learn 4 cultures, I just wanted one of them to accept me and give me a place where I felt whole. As I grew into who I was, I realized that I had to be whole in my own experiences as a mixed person, as a person of color and as a minority woman. To be mixed represents a shame in itself people don’t speak about. however, being mixed is a difficult privilege that I use to support this movement.

I believe a huge part of being Black is also being inclusive of all shades. If Black culture as a whole recognized mixed Black people as part of the struggle, then we could broaden our perspectives and begin to form allies and build bridges across our pain. In my life I’ve talked to thousands of people and many of them have honored me with a glimpse into their private lives. I realize that in many cultures we all share more things in common than differences. There are some things unique only to that culture and some that are just part of the human condition. Maslow knew this ages ago: Birth, death, basic physical needs, a sense of love/belonging, to be in a safe community, and to be elevated and enriched. One thing I truly believe is missing from the core of our existence is love. If we place love among our human biological needs we will respond to one another in concern for our neighbor as ourselves. But not to truly love ourselves is the biggest discontentment to Black culture as a whole. I matter, you matter, Black lives matter!

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