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The Problem With Being Biracial

Race is like gender, most of the time, people see it and assume how one identifies. There goes a white woman, a Hispanic man, an Asian woman, etc. Anyone who’s biracial or struggles with his or her gender identity knows that it’s not a black and white issue.

I am Chinese and Salvadorian and although I may not have the fair skin of your average Chinese person, it’s quite offensive to have people ask me if I’m adopted, if my mom cheated on my dad, or if I was switched at birth (Yes, people are that ignorant and have the audacity to ask me these questions).

I’m not lying, and I don’t have to answer your insensitive questions. I may have dark skin, but there’s not much I can do about that, now is there.“But you’re so dark, and your hair is so coarse, are you sure you don’t have black ancestors, are you Filipino, or Cambodian??” Usually, I just respond with a menacing glare, or I try my hand at throwing shade if I haven’t already burst into tears because of how upset this topic usually makes me.

Not wanting to be falsely identified as a member of another race doesn’t make me a racist, any sort of false identification is hurtful to me. I view it as society basing their views of who I am as a person because of the pigment of my skin. Have we really not progressed as a whole from what MLK taught us? We don’t live in a post racist world, racism is still being perpetuated on a daily basis. It may not be as upfront as it used to be, but throwing bigoted sly remarks now and then is just as problematic.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve witnessed an acquaintance of mine go on a highly offensive rant about how I don’t/won’t fit in because I don’t look like my race or because I’m only half Chinese or half Salvadorian. And to top it all off, people usually laugh at this, as if it’s some kind of joke. “HAR DE HAR HAR HAR your boyfriends parents aren’t going to like you because you don’t look Chinese, Har De Har Har Har”, “HAHAHA I thought you were black, you don’t look Asian or Hispanic HAHAHA!!”. Instead of interrogating people of mixed race or making off-color jokes, maybe it’s time to dig a bit deeper. There’s more to a person than the color of their skin. It’s not up to anyone to decide what percentage of my ethnicity I am, no one should dictate whether or not I belong somewhere or whether people will like me because the color of my skin “doesn’t match my race”.

I am a whole person, not half an identity, you can’t separate me into Chinese and Salvadorian cells and molecules. Asking me which side I relate to the most is not okay, I’m sure there are biracial people out there who do identify with one side more than the other (nothing wrong with that) but that’s not who I am. Who are you to say that “I’m not Chinese/Salvadorian enough”, who are you to judge me.

You ask “What are you?”

I say, “I am human”.


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