14 Aug Despite the Racial Guessing Game, Being Mixed Is the Best of Both Worlds
Many people play “the racial guessing game with me and my siblings, and most of the time, they get it wrong,” writes Sasha Abigana. (Photo courtesy of the author)
Editor’s note: In this series, we tell the stories of mixed-race youth in the Bay Area. They share with us how they navigate other people’s preconceived notions and how growing up with more than one race and culture has shaped them and their worldview. At a time when people seem increasingly hateful and divided, they are living proof of love bringing people together.
By Sasha Abigana
When my parents got together, each of their families was shocked to learn that they were dating somebody of a different race.
I don’t think that was so common back then, but I believe true love surpasses appearances and is inseparable. Today, it seems like so many people want to date people of other races. So fortunately, it appears that mixed families are becoming more accepted, and my parents are no longer considered odd or unique.
That hasn’t stopped a lot of people from playing the racial guessing game with me and my siblings, and most of the time, they get it wrong. Our mom is Black, and our dad is white. But people will frequently assume that we are Mexican. They may even attempt to speak with us in Spanish or simply say, “You’re Mexican, right?” When we correct them, they usually respond, “You’re mixed, really?” or “Oh,” with an expression of disbelief on their face. It almost seems like everyone has a preconceived notion of what a mixed-race person should look like and assumes they have all the features of a Black person with light skin.
Being in a mixed family gives your life variety because you are being raised with two or more different cultures. This also means you have a lot of experience in the shoes of both races.
When you are mixed, you also have common, positive and negative, experiences with both races. You might find it challenging to fit in at times because you were raised in different cultures, and sometimes you act in a way that is perceived as “white” or “Black” by those who don’t understand how you were raised. You might feel as though you are too Black for the white kids and too white for the Black kids because of this.
Growing up in a mixed-race family and having access to a wide variety of music helped me develop a love for it and set my taste apart from that of the average teenage girl. Rock music, one of the many genres I grew up listening to with my family, is more interesting to me than pop music. The other genres we listened to included hip-hop, R&B, reggae, soul and folk. I believe that my siblings and I have different musical tastes from others as a result of having listened to all of this while growing up.
Having a mixed-race family has many benefits because you get the best of both worlds. However, it also creates an environment that has its ups and downs. As you get older, though, you realize a mixed family is a really positive thing despite feeling different from other people.