t's Hard Out There for a Multiracial Kid | Teen Ink

t's Hard Out There for a Multiracial Kid

November 20, 2007
By Anonymous

Being multiracial, my ethnic identity is something that is brought to my attention almost daily, in the form of: “So, what race are you?”. However, I’ve never been one to be preoccupied with my racial identity. There was never any emotion attached to my plethora of ethnicities. It was merely another cold, hard fact, just like “my eyes are brown”. Unlike some people, I never thought that there were advantages or disadvantages to being multiracial, until very recently.

It all began with the very reason I’m writing this essay: the college application process.
When filling out information cards and the like, I always came across this question:

“Optional - Race/Ethnicity: Please check ONE.”

Confronted with that inevitable inquiry, I always had a silent, miniature panic attack. Just one? Which one do I pick? What if they have some kind of race quota, and they don’t pick me because they have too many people of that race already? I also thought about what people would think about me if I put a certain race down. Will they discriminate against me if I put “African-American” down? Will they assume I can’t speak English well if I check “Hispanic or Latino”? Will they give me all kinds of scholarships if I check the “American Indian/Native Alaskan” box? What if I don’t put anything down - then what happens?

I wondered why the few other people I knew who were multiracial never talked about having that issue. Then, one day, I had a epiphany. I realized that the reason I had such a problem with answering that one question is because I’m perfectly comfortable being in what I call “racial limbo” - the state of not belonging to any race or ethnicity, or not being sure of which one you “belong” with. Instead of falsely clinging to one race and denying my other portions, I subconsciously decided to belong to no race at all.

Being a multiracial person, and therefore, at least in my case, not belonging to any race at all certainly has its drawbacks. For one, it would be nice to able to go up to kids of my race and already have something in common with them, a ploy I’ve seen many freshmen use in order to gain some quick friends in that lonely first week of high school. Additionally, having “African-American Club” or “Latino Heritage Club” to put on my application would sure be nice at this moment - but it also has its advantages. Being a racial melting pot allows me to look at everyone without prejudice, something a lot of people, even in the 21st century, still can’t do. Because of my background, I know that no matter what race someone is, or how odd they seem to be, we have something in common - a little piece of their culture and heritage is also a piece of my own. And despite my ongoing battle with forms of all kinds, that’s something that I’m grateful for.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jan. 20 2009 at 12:18 am
Wonderful piece. I'm researching for a middle grade historical novel about a 12-year-old, 1/2 Mexican, 1/2 white spy.

I found your piece helpful.

Thank you!!