Please stop pretending my children and I don’t exist. I promise you we are NOT a myth; we are very real. A person can be born with more than one racial identity, more than one cultural identity, and more than one ethnic identity. I repeat: it is possible to be more than one!
Yet you insist that we fit into your racial boxes, which mean we must hide parts of ourselves. We are never enough for you. If I say I am part Black, then you tell me I am too Asian to be Black, but I am also too Black to be Asian. Heaven forbid I refer to myself as a Kafrican (Korean-African) because self-labeling my racial identity is DEFINITELY off the table (even though it is mine), I need to just pick the ‘other’ box and be done.
You have spent years telling me that I don’t exist, that I don’t belong. I am not allowed to straddle racial lines, and so I have learned to tuck parts of myself away from your judgmental eyes. Not having a place in the world used to hurt. Many nights as a child my pillow was wet with my tears because I didn’t belong anywhere. I didn’t understand what I did that excluded me. It hurts less now. I have grown used to not having a place, not belonging to one group. I have learned to camouflage myself to avoid your critical gaze. I got used to ignoring the pain when you ask me “what” I am. I even learned to stuff down the hurt when you would exclaim, “I knew it!”, as if my racial identity was a guessing game which you delighted in playing.
America, I was doing just fine until I had children. I was ok with my life, until you started to tell them they didn’t exist. You look at my oldest and tell her she is a child of color, you tell her she is just like her momma. You look at my youngest and tell her she has passing privilege. You smile when you tell her she got her father’s good looks; you see her and treat as though she is white.
When you do this, when you fail to understand that my children are children of color and that they are also white, you fail them. You tell them that they are not ok, just as they are. That they too must pick a side, yet it is clear that you have chosen for them. You look at them and place them where you think they go. Do you realize that when you do this, you erase a part of who they are?
Right now we are a society that is trying hard to fight racism. We are struggling to figure out how our systems benefit some and not others Everyday I see more and more social media posts about racism. I am the proud owner of many new books on racism for children, I have signed up for numerous training’s to figure out how I can better address racism. Yet, as I do these things, I reminded you do not think we are real.
Many books, training, and posts, focus on what white people or white passing people can do to address racism and support people of color. How is my passing child supposed to understand the part of her identity that comes from me, a person of color, if you keep telling her she needs to think like a white person? How is my oldest child supposed to understand the part of her white identity that comes from her dad, when you tell her she is a person of color and does not need to process the privilege that part of her holds?
America, you need to stop acting like there is one box for everyone. Some of us check more than one. We are real and we are here to stay, so please stop trying to force us to only be part of the people we are. Please stop asking my children to be something they are not. Please stop insinuating that my children need to pick ONE parent to identify with. They are multiracial, I am multiracial, and I will be damned if I am going to let you continue to tell them that who they are is a myth!!
A Multiracial Mom who is raising Multiracial kids to embrace ALL of who they are!