Sometimes being multiracial can be the hardest thing in the world. Being multiracial is an experience that is a juggling act all in itself in that I have had to learn how to juggle both of my parents’ races, while at the same time maintaining a sense of who I am at my core. Growing up, I didn’t live in a place that fully accepted my multiethnic and multicultural background. As a result, for a while, I even grew to loathe the fact that I was multiracial. At one point, I would have given anything to be monoracial because I wanted to be just like everyone else. It goes without saying than that being different, or being perceived as different, is very hard. It is hard knowing that you sometimes have to explain who you are to other people. It is hard knowing that people will look at you and make assumptions based on preconceived racial and cultural stereotypes. It is hard knowing that the world still sees people as black or white, or one or the other, and never both. It is hard that despite how far we may have come, there is still a long way to go.
But despite the difficulties I have encountered during my own multiracial journey, I can look back today and say that I am proud to be multiracial. It has been a long time coming but there is so much good that comes from being a product of more than one race. In this article, I want to share with you the 5 best things about being multiracial.
5 Best Things About Being Multiracial
You are like a human chameleon.
What I love about being multiracial is that I am basically a human chameleon. A chameleon is a reptile that can change its color in order to adapt and reflect its own environment. Think about it. Chameleons have the innate power to change what they look like. While I can’t change what l look like at will (not without plastic surgery anyway), I can however act as a human chameleon in the sense that I can easily relate and fit in with different groups of people. Depending on who I talk to, and where I am, one of my halves tend to dominate and be more somehow at that particular moment.
Being multiracial means that I am essentially part of more than one racial group. That means that I can have a conversation with someone who is hapa one moment, and then the next moment, I can chat with someone about something else. For example, a few weeks ago, I was chatting with someone who is half Asian about some common racial stereotypes we’ve encountered. And then the next, I was chatting with someone about their and mine European ancestors immigrating to America via Ellis Island.
If I wasn’t multiracial, then I would not be able to have these different conversations with people of different backgrounds. I wouldn’t be able to relate to them as I do now. Because I am multiracial, I am able to help bridge that gap. This is huge in the sense that it helps me to better connect with more groups of people. This is huge in that I can reach out and connect with someone I wouldn’t otherwise connect with. Sometimes having a shared or partial shared ethnicity can be the bridge to making genuine and authentic connections.
You are more self-aware.
I think that most people who are multiracial have a journey of self-discovery at least at one moment in their lives. When you live with your foot in both worlds, it is inevitable that this happen. When you are a part of both, you are not sure what you are, so you wonder, you ask, and you later define who you are based on how you feel. I have had to traverse this fine line of self-discovery nearly half of my life. It is only now, in my thirties, that I feel as if I am finally done. But really, that journey is never done. There is always something left to discover about me and that will never go away. This journey of self-discovery is even more paramount in people who are multiracial because we face it everyday, but it is necessary for everyone to go through in order to grow.
After growing and going through this journey of self-discovery during a huge part of my life, I find that I am more self-aware than the average person. I have had to learn more about myself. I have had to question things that the average person might not have ever had to. I have had to ask myself why I am this way, or who I am. When you go through life questioning yourself, then that makes you a more inquisitive person, always asking, always wanting to know more. And that’s not such a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.
You are an example that not everything is black or white.
In today’s world, people unfortunately still see things in black or white. You are essentially this, if you aren’t the other. But when you are multiracial, then you are not black or white. You are not one or the other. You are both, but at the same time, you are neither. You are part of something else that is very real, amazing, and authentic. You are not just your mom, or your dad. You are your own person.
Nothing is truly ever black or white. Everything is unique. Every person is unique. And the sooner we realize that not everything needs to be categorized, then the better for us. The sooner we realize that we can live without this incessant need to fit things into boxes, the better it is because that brings us one step closer to being tolerant and open-minded. When we see beyond the boxes laid out in front of us by society, then we are finally seeing the full potential that life can bring us. We have a lot to learn still. We need to be willing to look past the lines that society has drawn for us. Instead, we need to create our own boxes.
You stand out from the crowd.
Being multiracial means that you are different. Being different means that you stand out from the crowd. While sometimes this can be a bad thing, there is good in standing out too. I think the best thing about standing out from the crowd is that you are not forgettable. People will most likely not forget you, particularly if you have features that they have never seen before. They will remember. Sometimes they may wonder and sometimes they may walk up to you and ask you what are you.
But the important thing is that you will be remembered. You will be seen. And in today’s very visual social media obsessed world, being different is actually the best arsenal you have toward making it “big.” Because when you are different, people are intrigued and curious. They want to learn more. Sometimes it can be a little bit too much. But the point is, they want to learn more about you, and that can be a good thing in that you can use it as a platform to educate them about what it is really like to be you. Because no one does you better than you.
You are an inspiration.
Being multiracial means that you are different and people will naturally be curious about you. It also means that you are an inspiration. You are someone people can look to to take the lead. You are someone who can inspire a new generation of people to be less racist and more tolerant and open-minded. You can inspire people to know that not everything is as it seems. You can inspire them to the realization that what’s different can be the most beautiful thing of all.
In short, I love being multiracial. I love that I can seamlessly fit into more than one world. I love that I am unique. But most of all, I love that I can be someone who can set an example for the future of this world. It is obvious to me that this world is never going to be the same. Things are always changing. People are changing. Little by little, we can open people’s eyes to be just a little more tolerant so that in the future, race will no longer be something that people will use to classify people. Instead, everyone will just be their unique, amazing self. And that should be enough.
It will only get better.