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.