“You don’t need to fit a mold that other people think you should fit.”
Trends Writer, The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post, January 21, 2016
“I’m what Hollywood calls ethnically ambiguous.”
This is how one man in the Buzzfeed video above described what it’s like to be more than one race in a world and society that insists on putting people into neat racial categories.
Often times, people who identify as biracial or multiracial have physical characteristics that defy any sort of racial categorization and aren’t able to simply check off a box on an application, form or census that will neatly describe their race.
“I’ve gotten Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, half black, half white,” one woman said in regards to how people perceive her ethnic background by just looking at her.
According to a Pew Research Center survey published in June, a quarter of multiracial adults said people are often or sometimes confused by their racial background. And 19 percent said that they have felt like they were a “go-between” or “bridge” between different racial groups.
Yet for some people their multiracial background isn’t immediately apparent to others, which can evoke a wide-range of emotions because an important part of their identity isn’t instantly recognized by most people.
A man, who is Mexican and white, laments the fact in the video that no one ever immediately identifies him as Mexican.
“When people first glance at me, the first thing they see is a white guy and usually I have to end up explaining to people that I’m half Mexican and half white,” he said. “Sometimes I wish I could walk in and be recognized as a Mexican American.”
One woman made it clear that she wanted to be recognized as an individual.
“I never saw myself as different until someone else pointed it out,” one woman said. She later added, “You don’t need to fit a mold that other people think you should fit.”
Another woman, who is Danish and Indian, shared how her multiracial background sometimes left her feeling like she didn’t belong to either of her ethnicities.
“An interesting part of my journey as a young, multiethnic person growing up was rejection from both sides of my ethnic identity,” she said.
Multiracial identity is complicated, for sure. But it’s also a source of pride for many.
“I am who I am, and no one else is like me,” explained a woman towards the end. “And that’s pretty cool.”