Growing up biracial has come with some advantages and disadvantages. When I was in grade school there were not as many people who looked like me. I was made fun of because I didn’t look like the caucasian kids, and I didn’t all the way look like the african american kids. I was different, an oddball. I had a lot of confusion and self doubt as to who I was, or who I could identify with. I made friends and life wasn’t that rough, I don’t mean to overdramatize anything. However; as a child when you are learning and processing so much information all while just wanting to fit in with everyone else. Unfortunately, that task can become somewhat tricky when you’re different, and you find yourself having to constantly explain what your genetic makeup is to your peers. I was always the mixed girl, but that hit a cord because when I was a child I just wanted to be one race – so that I didn’t have to continue to explain myself.
Fast forward to teenage/adult years. I started to believe that it was pretty cool to have ancestors from one side of my family from Italy, Sweden, and Norway (my moms background) – and than having family members from New Orleans (Creole- my dads side). In my early teen years I started to explore and believe in my uniqueness, and I was proud to be biracial.
However, ironically when I was younger I was always different (the mixed girl), and now that i’m older, and proud of my ethnicity I feel as though I’ve been put into a box by some members of society. I feel like I’am not allowed to be biracial, but rather african american. This bothers me in a sense because I went through so many developmental early stages of life trying to figure out who I was, and finding security in that. So, once I did reach this place of loving all of who I’am, and being a proud product of both my mother and father, but than society says no, you must check the african american box.
I have a lot of friends who are biracial. Some identify with their dominant side, and others refer to themselves as biracial. I think the choice comes down to the individual. I identify with both races, others may or may not. Either way the most important message is to be who you want to be, and not allowing what society chooses to label you as. Don’t allow anyone to infiltrate your identity.