OPINION: On being mixed in America


Illustration by Drew Harris.

Olivia Evans

You’re acting really white.

You’re not really black, only fifty percent.

What do you bubble in on standardized test?

Is your dad in your life?

You’re an oreo.

All your friends are white.

All your friends are black.

You’re not white.

You’re not black.

If you’re not black and you’re not white, then what are you?

In America, a country which claims to not see color, everything is still black or white. There is no gray. If you are like me and come from an interracial family at one point or another I am willing to bet you struggled with self identity. I mean, who are you? Where do you fit in? More importantly, what are you?

Despite the assertion that color doesn’t make you who you are and it’s what’s on the inside that matters, which is true, a huge part of your character and who you identify as as a person is related to your skin color. When society is telling you that you’re neither black nor white, it can be very confusing to discover who you are.

In middle school I went through a period of time when I thought being black was bad and I did everything I possibly could to deny my blackness and pretend it wasn’t real. I would only interact with white kids, I would only go to the “white places” and I only dressed “white.” This phase continued all the way through freshman year for me.

Going into my sophomore year I finally accepted my blackness; I embraced it a little too aggressively. Everything I did was “black”. I tried to be hard and act tough because that’s the image of black people in society. I started talking “ghetto.” I only listened to rap and underground music and was close-minded to other forms of music and arts. In other words, I embraced every single negative aspect of being black.

It wasn’t until the beginning of my junior year that I snapped out of this identity crisis. I realized that I didn’t have to fit society’s fixed standards, or nonexistent standards of what it means to be mixed in America.

Being mixed in America doesn’t mean you are restricted to picking one side or the other. Being mixed in America doesn’t mean you are some sort of outcast. Being mixed in America doesn’t mean you have to pick sides.

When you’re mixed in America it can be very confusing, especially when you’re trying to discover who you truly are; but, being mixed DOESN’T mean you are forced to be a product of the status quo, it simply means you are you. Embrace it, not part of it, all of it, be you.

Illustration by Drew Harris.