Written for NR Magazine
By Maria Baker
The main struggle of being biracial is having to discover for yourself what you are and not just settle with society’s reflection of yourself after all, there are 1 in 13 people in the UK that are mixed race and growing, there should not be an issue with identity and misinterpretations by now but there are. There will be times when you are misrepresented or people who do not know how to represent you at all. There is a sense in this world that everything is black and white with no grey areas. You are one solid category you can’t have a mix, a bit of both, an in-between. Being mixed, although, most believe you are half this and half the other, you are one full being, one whole separate race entirely. Being mixed is not about being half white and half something else and picking which one you identify most with; it is about accepting both cultures into one and saying you are not just one nor the other but everything that comes along with being both. It is yet then, even more of a struggle when people immediately dote on the fact, and assume so, that you are one of your race, and characterise you into a stereotype just to paint a picture big enough so they can understand you.
In my personal experience, schools have attempted to bring justice to equality but have made a few mistakes, for instance, the phrase, “mixed race”, has been banned from use in my old school. This term in no means is racist, it is the context that causes harm with any words. Also, this is the only phrase I feel correctly and comfortably represents who I am, it is an easy explanation to others but to imagine children who had undergone an identity crisis much like I did their age without having this turn of phrase allowed, would make one ponder whether they would ever feel rightly represented.
There are many times even within the people of colour community where either you feel or made to feel you are not good enough to be part of the group. The struggle is then having an identity crisis, whether you are just having to go between each half and not accepting the whole of you.
The lesson here for all of us, whether you are biracial or not, is to teach and to also understand, to not make presumptions about someone based on stereotypes. To not ask questions or speak statements that turn out to be racist and offensive, such as “you don’t look like” or “all mixed people look beautiful”. To not also assume that mixed people have just the same amount of rights and opportunities as white people. It is to acknowledge that some have more privilege than others but to also treat everyone equally. If we want to see change in how everyone acts, we must begin by changing how we act, ourselves.