So, that is an actual question that someone asked me once. "A human being," I tartly answered. But I knew what he meant. I just didn't feel like dealing with it at that particular moment. And if you are mixed, like me, then you probably know exactly what I mean. My mom is Korean and my dad is Black - a good ol military mix. I managed to get through a good part of my early youth without it being an issue. It may have been around 4th grade or so before I really recall realizing that I was somehow different. But not in a negative way - it was just something that I noticed. The negativity came around 9th grade. Up until then we had primarily lived overseas on military bases. Small town Wisconsin gave me a new perspective on race. It was the first time I recalled hearing the n-word.
It was also around the same time that I felt confused about marking 'black' when demographic information was requested. I wasn't just black after all - I was korean too. My mother saved me from further distress on that one. She sat me down and affirmed that yes, I was also korean. But, other people would look at me and see black and that is how I would be treated. No one would ever look at me and think that I was korean. Crisis resolved. Yay mom. But I was forever changed in how I looked at race, ethnicity, culture and diversity. It was a good change; it brought a level of awareness of the good, the bad and the ugly. But, it also brought with it a profound appreciation for our differences and how then can enrich our lives.
I do identify as a black woman. I also love and celebrate my korean heritage. I think that I am lucky, though. Because I know that so many others who are mixed do not have this solidarity and conviction in their bi/multiracial identity. There are times that have been interesting for me. For example, the LA riots. I had to defend the koreans to the blacks and the blacks to the koreans. And then there are the times when I have had to deal with 'not being black enough.' But all in all, I am thankful to say that I am relatively unscathed and embrace my identity. So, I refer back to my answer to the question: I am human. I am a human being living and loving a diverse experience and benefiting from all that comes with it. And work on your grammar, boo.