One of the biggest struggles of my life is being biracial. To answer the most popular quantifying question, I’m half black and half white.
And I don’t know if you can tell I’m black.
Given the recent boil over of racial tension that has been brewing since slavery, one might think that’s a good thing. “Hey, you’re white passing, use it to your advantage!” but people who believe that are missing the entire point.
Being biracial means I belong to two races, I have two cultures and two heritages I strongly identify with. However, people are always trying to erase one from me.
I’m too “confusing”.
I have black features but light skin.
I dress in preppy clothing but I have a muscular build.
I have a midwestern accent that rivals Fargo but curly hair that people shell out thousands for.
In short, I’m a living oxymoron.
Being biracial is like walking a tightrope that neither of your parents can prepare you for. I can’t do that because with white people; I can’t say that because with black people. But I CAN try this because I’m both black and white. I feel like I’m in a constant identity crisis depending on what setting I’m in.
I know that being 100% black is harder than being biracial. I discovered this in elementary school when my black friends got in trouble for the antics my white friends pulled… and I got lumped in with the white kids. This made it easy for me to figure out how I should act in the future, because given the choice, why wouldn’t you take the easier path?
This perfectly symbolizes my relationship with both racial communities: While I am in them, I don’t represent them. I have privileges that black people don’t have because of my lighter skin and perplexing features but I’m also discriminated against because of my “exotic” name and 3b hair texture.
This has caused me to become a chameleon; put me in a sea of either race and I promise you I know how to blend in, right down to the mannerisms (however exhausting this coping mechanism might be, but that’s a song for another time).
One of the best things about being biracial is having options. But please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t ask us “what are you?” or “but like, what side to you identify with most?” We don’t owe you anything, including comfort.