I am a Bi-Racial baby. Mixed. A product of Blended love. White & Black. For me, growing up I struggled with identifying. I think it was more so, struggling to identify with what other people identified me as. I just kind of rolled with whatever people perceived me to be. In high school, I had a teacher, that was recruiting visibly “Black” students, to be part of a club called “The African American Alliance”. I sat there waiting for her to invite me to said club, and she never did. One of the students spoke up on my behalf and asked “Aren’t you going to invite Astra?!” to which she replied “Well, It’s actually only for African American Students”. I didn’t take it personally, it was a mistake, I Assume she just thought, that maybe, I was something else. But for most of my life, I had allowed people to deny me of my own identity.
Am I Black enough to be Black? Am I White enough to be White? And why do I have this pressure to singularly identify at all in a space that offers no “other”? What I have found, is that I am more often trying prove that I am Black, regardless of the fact that I am mixed…it is apparent that I am not white. On a number of different occasions I have been asked “what are you?!” as if, I am some strange life form they have never seen before. I would just respond with “oh, I’m mixed. My mom is white and my dad is Black, but I am Black” Only to have someone retort “yeah, barely” (umm…excuse me) or “yeah but not really, I mean, you grew up White” (grew up white? is there a specific type of childhood you have to have to grow up a certain skin color?). As if growing up doesn’t come with its own unique challenges of self discovery, I was then also trying to figure out, where I fit in the racial constructs of society.
Now, into my adulthood, I have developed my own sense of identity and while I am proud of my mixed DNA, I am also a Black woman. I have developed my own educated stance on social injustices that minorities face, and to this day I am consistently challenged by my white & black counterparts on how can I even take issue or have an opinion on such matters, as a black woman, if I am part white. I find this comical, considering Barack Obama, a Mixed man, who posses a genetic make up similar to my own, is considered the first Black President. Black enough for both White and Black America and YET, I am barely black enough, to contribute a “black opinion” on anything. the irony. *insert a long sigh and an even longer eye roll*.
Its been a long time coming, but over the course of, I would say, 6 years I have truly started to embrace who I am. Black. White. Mixed. But Still Black. The melanin that gives my skin its beautiful brown glow is all the proof I need. I acknowledge my ability to pass for a range of other ethnicity’s and I am aware, that on occasion I am a recipient of the unspoken “light” privilege. But I KNOW who I am. I can listen to Counting Crows and 2pac interchangeably, Faith Hill and Aretha Franklin and that will never define who I am racially. Its all made up, to sort us into boxes that not all of us fit into. So, For all the mixed kids, who have undoubtedly gone through the same things, you do not need to prove anything to anyone, YOUR BEING is proof enough.