These are my personal ramblings on life through the lens of my multiracial/multicultural worldview... and probably other stuff too...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Musings on Mixed Race

I have been noticing a movement.  A rumble of indignation in the world.  Many people are demanding to be acknowledged as Mixed Race... not Black and White or Asian and White... or... or...

I guess that is what I am wondering.  Is the desire to be viewed within this specific category universal?  I wonder if people who are half White experience this more than people who are half Black and something other than White.  In my life, there was a momentary lapse of identity, but for the most part I always identified as Black.  My Korean identity was never nurtured or developed.  It was not difficult to avoid an identity struggle when one half of my identity lurked in the shadows.  I really only experienced one really difficult time in my life as a person caught between two worlds - the LA riots.  I had to defend Blacks to Koreans and Koreans to Blacks.  I am thankful that episode was short lived and not very traumatic.  So, based on my experience, I wonder what it is like for others like me - the Black/not-White biracial folks.  Is it easier to identify as Black?  Or are they feeling what (it seems) many Black/White or Asian/White or other White/??? are feeling?  A desire to embrace a Mixed Race identity rather than identifying more with one race or the other or with asserting that one is half of this and half of that.

I'm inclined to think that the experience is different for those of us who are not half White.  I think that there is a lot more baggage for those who are.  Especially if they are Black/White.  For me, there just wasn't a history of one half of my heritage having oppressed the other half of my heritage.  I honestly never really gave it much thought until I started reading more about the assertion of a Mixed Race identity.  Perhaps it really does represent a new way of looking at race.  Perhaps it is a way that we can honor the richness of heritage without focusing on the baggage that comes with it.  In counseling there is the idea of the creation of the New; creating a new story (Ivey, Ivey & Zalaquett, 2010).  In America, in the world, this is the creation of a new story.  It is a new way of looking at race.  Eventually we will be so intertwined within races, ethnicities and cultures that the only practical way to identify will be 'Mixed Race.' 

The truth is that despite the similarities of our many stories, we each experience mixed race identities in different ways.  Everyone has a unique experience.  While I identify as Black, I am very proud to be half Korean.  I am always looking for ways to infuse Korean culture into my life and now into my daughter's life.  I am biracial.  My daughter is multiracial.  We are Mixed Race.  We are part of the Highbred Nation.  And our numbers are growing.  I hope the world is ready to get with the program.

Ivey, A., Ivey, M. & Zalaquett, C.  (2010).  Intentional Interviewing and Counseling (p. 240). Belmont: Brooks/Cole.


  1. I does feel like "mixed" is "in" lately. Any time I can get Miss Jessie's and Mixed Chicks and Kinky Curly at freakin' Target, I know I'm living in a time when I'm no longer quite the oddity I once was (or thought I was). There's a comfort in not having to field those "what are you" questions all the time...but...I guess looking back the uniqueness was not all bad. Finding another person who identified as mixed race, even some of the time, was like finding out that you and the other person were in the same sorority. It was special.

    When conversations turn to matters of race and mixed race, I usually share with folks that my identification is a work-in-progress. I'm not done yet. I'm not sure I'll be done any time soon. I actually enjoy the journey.

    Love the blog, my dear. Keep up the great work!

  2. Being of a mixed race, I know it can be difficult at times and then again sometimes people don't even notice. If you live in an area where people predominantly look the same it is easy to hide out. In a place where you may stick out like a sore and swollen thumb well I suppose you learn to adjust. I have had the best of all of these worlds, and I made it - to a time where for the most part interracial dating or interfaith marriages are becoming the norm. It could be that people are more accepting and less ignorant these days or that more people believe in "Global Browning" but whatever it is I am glad of it. Major strides, all around on tv and even in ad campaigns (Louis Vuitton just put the first Asian male in their Spring Menswear campaign), so not only are African Americans, Mixed Race and Asians getting their just due...the world - a melting pot - is also.

    Thanks Regina for writing this.

  3. Dr. Foss-Snowden!!! Thanks so much for the comment. I am looking forward to trying Miss Jessie's and Mixed Chicks products - and I will definitely blog about them to share my opinion. You are so right - it really is special to have other people who are able to connect with your experience. Especially as we continue to navigate this journey. The world perspective is shifting and it allows us to shift along with it - form new thoughts and ideas and to challenge the identities that have been constructed for us as well as those constructed by us. I can appreciate your insight of self as a work in progress... and a journey that you enjoy! I agree. I really am enjoying this winding road that goes up and down, circles back, shoots forward, hangs out for a while and then starts to creep along again... I am thankful I have women like you to look to for inspiration and support. Sending you big hugs!

  4. Ambrosia and Epiphany, welcome and thanks so much for musing along with us! You make such a great point about learning to adjust. Those of us who are mixed race (highbreds, if you will) are chameleons of sorts, huh? We do learn to adjust because sometimes we never quite fit jusssst right... so we wiggle and shake and shift and in the end, just do our best to make it work. I think it is a wonderful skill of learned hopefulness... what I mean is that we are capable of adapting... we have learned to be capable of adapting so that our circumstances and experiences don't crush us. And we flourish! Of course, this is a generalization, as I am sure we all know of individuals who struggle and don't quite manage to flourish. But, I think that the shifting of our societal status (ha! we HAVE a status!) is proof of our flourishing. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE how you put it: Global Browning! Love it! And thanks for that tidbit of info on LV and repping for the Asian men out there - I gotta get an image of that on here! Thanks!