I always joke that my race changes with my mood, but that seems more true than anything. My whole life I’ve been approached by random strangers or by coworkers who sheepishly ask about my ethnic background. Well, that’s putting it nicely. It usually comes out as something like, “What are you?” My usual response is to make them guess. If they’re going to be rude, I might as well get some entertainment value out of it, right?
Sometimes people don’t even ask! One Mardi Gras, halfway through Muses a Hawaiian woman asked me to watch her children so she could go to the bathroom. I told her I would, but I asked her why me. Her response? “You look Hawaiian.” There you have it folks! Find someone who looks like you and start handing your children over. Surely nothing will go wrong!
This kind of thing happens all the time. The race part, not the baby part. That would be interesting….
In all honestly, when they stop guessing and I’m forced to either answer or say something particularly witty before hair-flipping on my way out, I don’t always know what to say. How can I explain that the exact ratio of Black and Cherokee in my father is an absolute mystery? That my mother is Irish, but there are some rumors of a distant relative dallying with the local Chinese on a mission trip and that’s where we joke about my eyes coming from?
Saying I’m Mixed never satisfies people. Claiming one side over the others just doesn’t feel right. I want to live authentically, be myself, and to be honest I’m not sure what that is right now. So here I am, starting this blog. I want to use this to explore my ethnicity and my cultural identity, if I even have one. I hope I’m not alone in this and that there are others out there that would like to join me on this journey of ridiculous stories and hair pulling frustrations!
And believe me, I have all the stories!