Being mixed today is celebrated on social media. When you meet people for the first time they ask “What are you?” . I have been mistaken for a Spaniard, Hispanic, Indian, Turk, Greek etc. No one ever guesses what I am correctly, there are too many cultures and races to bring up and that is fine. It makes it easier to not belong to any group in particular, and just be who I am.
Growing up I have witnessed a change in society, the broader acceptance of interacial people and couples. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home that sheltered me from racism. It never dawned on me my mother was “White” and my father was “Black”. To this day people tell me I am only a quarter this and a quarter that and etc etc etc….. eventually I just hear music where their statements are being voiced, at the end of the day does it really matter? To me it does not. I am mixed, and there is nothing else to it.
Growing up at home being more black or white did not make a difference. The issue never came up at the dinner table. My father never said “I got bad customer service today because I was black!”. My father has said however “There are ignorant, illiterate people that we unfortunately have to deal with”. I have seen them and experienced it from a young age, and learned to turn a blind eye upon them.
At six years old , while at school I was physically pushed from the playhouse at break time because I was ” not like us.” The same child who did that shouted loudly in the playground that a Japanese classmate had drank blood from an Ostrich in the woods behind our school. My second encounter was at twelve years old where I was told to go and sit with the other white person because “I did not belong here.” That hit me for six, since when was I JUST white??
One day I was walking to school, and a man dressed in business attire walked towards me. I said good morning, and he spat in my face, cursed me and told me to go back to my mother country along with numerous expletives which do not deserve to be broadcasted. When I was nineteen a friend of my mother’s said to me ” But you are not at all what I expected, you could be one of us!” They quickly received the Trinidadian ‘Steups’… nothing more, out of respect for my mother.
Fast forward years later, depending upon the ignorant social group I am either too white or too black. I have encountered the ignorants who disagree with interracial relationships quite often….which no longer deserves a response, because really who cares? It is far more damning to see close mindedness so aptly demonstrated through distrustful stares and unsolicited opinion than for me to hold hands with a black or white man.
People have tried to school me on my “blackness” which I find ridiculous, just because I was raised predominantly under my mother’s so called” white” values does not mean you have to school me on being black, because NEWSFLASH I am everything, not just one particular race. What is even more hilarious is that my mother at times appears terribly distressed because she believes I know nothing about my European heritage.
The gist of it is. It’s PEOPLE that make it and issue, and not just any sort of person, but the IGNORANT kind. Labels come from ignorance, unsolicited opinions come from those who feel they need an audience.At the end of the day we all bleed the same way. Every event that occurred re racism was brought by someone who was too blinkered,ignorant per lack of education and self absorbed to see past their own two feet.
The good part is though, it just shows how much we have to combat, and daily I see.. with social media and hashtags such as swirl, mixed love, etc. how far we have come.
Ignorance will never be fully erased, but ignoring it and looking past it is a wonderful way to start.
My family circa 2008