Mixed Girl Writing

Growing up multi-racial is amazing (in my most honest of opinions).  However, there is a question that many of us experience over and over again that makes me cringe:

“What are you?”

Even now I can see the question and imagine it dissipating into the air like cigarette smoke.  I watch as it floats into the void of questions I am too tired to answer or too tired of answering.

If I answer, “I am human,” would you laugh because you think I am joking?  Maybe if I said, “I hate that question,” we could stop pretending like it’s a good question.  It’s a shit question.  Now, don’t misunderstand, I don’t hate the intent, just the wording.  It is an arbitrary question.

Do not get offended or think it a joke when I answer:

“I am fire and ice.  I am star dust and ocean breeze.  I am the descendant of Adam and Eve.  I am a mix of my mother and father.  I am a human who feels deeply and loves fully.”

But, perhaps, it is merely a safe question.  A question you ask to make small talk.  After all, why would we want to know who someone is – their hopes & dreams & fears – before we know what color of skin they represent?

Too many times I have checked the box marked “other.”  Too many times my identity has been stripped away.  Too many questions asking me what I am but none of them really caring.  So when you ask me, “What are you?,” forgive me if I pause to double check the next words out of my mouth.

You would think I have made a home in the world of “other” by now.  But I am more than just a check mark in the box of “other.”  I am not a box to be placed neatly on your shelf once your curiosity has been met.

Next time you think to ask “what are you” – don’t.  Say, “Would it be alright to ask what your ethnicity is?”  Say, ” I was just wondering how do you identify, ethnically speaking?”

Then I will tell you.  I will tell you that my father is black and my mother is half white and half Hawaiian.  I will tell you that I fully embrace the beauty in the mix of colors that swirl perfectly together to form me.

I am a mixed girl writing.

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