Seeing in Many Colors

April 24, 2010
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No matter how loyal you are to one category, you should not be afraid to question its validity. I have learned in my thirteen years that you cannot understand complex, or even simple, things without asking questions. I believe that no one can check off just one box. What box? The boxes on surveys, censuses, or even quizzes. Many people stay under one label for all of their lives even if they do not truly understand or believe what they are being told.

I am one of the many biracial people in the world. If you have this in common with me, I am sure you have asked yourself, What am I? After school one day I turned on the TV and found myself glued to the screen for a full hour of The Tyra Show. The episode was about biracial people. Not just the typical black/white mix, but some really interesting combinations. During the show I related to a lot of the guests. For example, Ebony explained how people always asked if she came from an island or if she was Hispanic, which happens to me all the time. Other guests had more complex problems. Some people refused identifying themselves as two or more backgrounds. One man was Black and Mexican, he denied being Mexican to anyone who asked because he looked black. I think this way of thinking is unintentionally encouraged by society. Americans take one look at someone and assume they are just “white” because of their skin tone. I decided right then that I was black and white, because it is shallow to just go skin deep. On surveys I would like to be able to check off more than one box or a biracial choice. However, there is usually no box like that. Yes my mom has tried multiple times to choose both “African American” and “Caucasian,” but they always end up picking African American to give the school more credit for minorities. Jokingly I said, “Next time I will make my own box: Native Caufrican.”I cannot, along with many other people, just choose one box. I refuse to conform to just one ethnicity, because that is not what defines me. I am so much more than just “black” or “white”. I am biracial.

I believe it is important to have sturdy beliefs or identities, what is not important is for those beliefs to be simple or easily explained in one word. Beliefs are personal things and they are not up to your ethnicity, religion, or friends. If you are still trying to figure out what you believe, that is okay, just search within you, not within a group of people.





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