Being a multiracial individual in this day and age has its challenges. I used to think growing up that white was the way to be. That being treated well went along with being white. I didnít realize at that time that I was being exposed, ever so subtly, to racism. There wasnít a name for it when I was 12 years old.
When youíre a multiracial child growing up can be difficult. I am mixed, black and white, and growing up I was under the impression that I was white. Thinking back I remember I had always wanted to be popular, have long, straight, flowing hair, and be liked by the cute boys in school, seemingly normal adolescent behavior. But when I looked deeper I realized it was because I saw white girls and boys were those things. They were popular, the girls had long, straight, flowing hair, and the white girls had the boys I liked. That is not to say that students of color werenít popular, but it was clear that they took a back seat in popularity to the white students. There was a sense of belonging, having power, and being liked that went along with being white. I so wanted that for myself. I wanted to belong, to have power, and to be liked.
How does one participate in society and be multiracial at the same time? I am a grown woman and I am more confused about race and social issues now than I ever was. Since embarking on what could be the career I was made for I have learned more than I thought I wanted to know about racism, discrimination, white privilege, and stereotypes. Some things I already knew but some things I am hearing, seeing, for the first time. I donít know what to do with myself anymore. Is it ok to be who I am? Do I have to change my whole attitude on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Am I going to be selling out my race(s) if I act a certain way? As much as most of the world would like to think itís gone, racism is alive in well in 2003. Although the method of transmission of racism has changed, the message is still the same.