It is one thing to be black. It is one thing to be white. But to be mixed-raced is not a concept. At least, this is what I have learned over my 24 years of existence.
Ever since I was young, I have constantly been reminded that I am either too much of one or the other, but only when it suits the people around me. My opinion is irrelevant. My earliest school memories are some of the harshest I keep locked away. The black kids had always told me I wasn’t black enough, “why do you listen to that white people music? Why do you dress like that? You’re such a bounty”. At the time, it stung a little but you brush it off – hey, you’re only young and kids don’t know what they’re talking about, right? There is only so much of this you can take. So you become friends with the white kids but they always want to touch your hair because “it looks like a sponge” and “oh it’s so soft and puffy!*squeals with delight*”.
So you go to a hairdresser but they’re not comfortable with styling ‘afro’ hair. You explain that it’s actually a mixture of Afro and Caucasian so a little wavy but curly in places but that’s still too much of a mission for them. Onwards to the Afro-Caribbean hairdresser and what a surprise, “your hair is too white!”. And don’t even get me started on make up, foundation, concealer, whatever (but thank you Mac Cosmetics for restoring my faith in make-up).
Boys act like you’re some variety of exotic fruit because “you’re black but you seem more white. It’s weird but cool”, thus leaving you to feel like an unfinished science experiment. Work colleagues make casual racist jokes but you’re a spoilsport or a killjoy if you don’t find them funny, but how are you supposed to react?
I could go on and on and on and I am more than sure that others have had similar experiences. So where does this leave someone like myself (and of course my fellow mixed buddies) In this big bad world? Do I accept that the human race feels the need to categorise everyone and everything to make sense of general life? Do I accept being called a ‘lighty’ and occasionally being made to feel like a dragonfruit or [insert intriguing new foods here]?
I don’t have an answer and I doubt I ever will but I just hope this makes some people think before they speak and to just consider that being racist isn’t always discriminating towards black or white.
A lot of people won’t like this rant and I personally don’t care. Unless you’ve been in my shoes (and you wouldn’t want to be because they smell like wet dog) you don’t have the right to tell me how to think.
Side note – I am fully aware that there are so many other combinations involved in being mixed raced however I can only speak from experience. Feel free to comment and enlighten me with your examples.