Conversations All Mixed Women Have With Strangers

When a person guessing your race is like a speed round of Jeopardy...

1. Where are you from?

This the most common first round question a stranger will ask a mixed-race person when in fact they mean something referring to your ethnic, racial, or cultural origins. This is one of those questions you can either be a smartass about and name your home state, country, region, or you can ask them what they mean. People can sometimes be thrown off by that response if you say it too aggressively, but given we’re asked this our whole life, it’s a bit of an eye-roller most of time. It’s hard to asses someone’s intent when they ask this but you know it’s either they really want to know where you’re from or it’s a reference to your genetics. Even if you’re not mixed and look racially ambiguous so people assume your mixed, you may be accustomed to being this question as well.

2. No, but what are you?

A human. A person. A woman. An aunt. A sister. A friend. A woman of color…the list goes on.

3. You look like XYZ. I bet your ABCDEFGH...WRONG

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4. Really? You don’t look XYZ

I learned a long time ago I cannot help how someone else perceives what I’m supposed to look like. Being a bi-racial mix of Black and Mexican I know there is a spectrum of pigments, tones, etc. I could look like, but at the end of the day I’m just me. This is one of those questions you can shrug off or engage into a deeper conversation if you’d like. I usually take the time to ask them WHY they think I’m supposed to look like XYZ and that can be eye-opening for me. It’s a reminder that we all come from different countries, cities, and states and maybe that person didn’t have a diverse community or relations growing up. We as multiracial people must check ourselves sometimes.

5. Which parent do you look like?

I technically look like both since I’m mixed, please don’t make me choose. I look like my parents blended together and created a human, just like yours.

6. What do you identify with more?

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7. Do you ever feel like you’re forced to pick a side?

Sigh. By “side” you mean one culture over the other. Internally, I could be screaming ALL THE TIME especially when strangers have been asking me this since I could talk. Feeling incomplete or less than a fully formed human being is a common identity issue for most mixed-race people. Depending what generation you grew up it could have been extremely hard to navigate because you just want to find where you fit. You just want to be accepted by both cultures even though you inherently to some don't embody their idea of that culture. It's hard. Like nailbiting hard.That’s a whole other conversation that probably delves too much into my childhood psyche that felt the societal pressure to be one thing over the other. The answer is yes, but I don’t pick a side because I’m not made up of “sides,” I’m a whole person.

8. Can I touch your hair?

Please don't. I see your hand moving slowly towards my crown and this may not end well for you.

9. All mixed people kind of look the same...right?

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10. So does A+B=C so you're technically DEFG

No, unfortunately my races don't function like a math equation. My parents sum total of me does not make me another culture. For example: I once had a man who swore because I was half Black and half Mexican it made me Dominican. I remember scratching my head at him and wondering how he took two of my cultures and made me a whole brand new one in his head. It's rare this has ever happened, but it made me realize there's really a no holds bar to what people can concoct in their heads. Are Dominican people a mix of Black, Spanish, and Latin? Sure- does my Texan self get to claim that country/cultural origin because I'm Black and Mexican. Nope it just doesn't work like that.

11. But you get to represent multiple cultures, that's cool.

Thank you. I love it. I love representing history and getting to explore that everyday.

12. Aren't mixed-race people the face of the future.

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