People ask: “Don’t you have another identity other than ‘mixed’?”
They get tired of hearing about it. Perhaps because they don’t understand it. “It’s great that you’re mixed, that’s really cool,” some say. “But…do you really feel the need to to have a whole blog about it? What do you even, like…talk about? Aren’t you eventually gonna run out of things to say?”
Nope. Yes, I absolutely do have other things that make me who I am. I am a writer, a novelist, a tea-lover, a British history enthusiast. I am a studier of Celtic legend, an actor, a podcaster, a bisexual woman, a pagan, a Disney fan and proud former Disney cast member. I am also mixed. Why do I focus so much of my time and attention on that last bit? Because it is the only part of my identity that is pushed down, that is rejected, that is made fun of, that is misunderstood, that is underrepresented and altogether denied. So yes, I do feel the need to make a blog about it. The things that I do in my daily life are often centered around my mixed identity. It makes me feel more complete, in a sense. And I’m discovering just how many mixed people feel the same way.
I’ve noticed that mixed people tend to go hard, one way or the other. There are many that identify as one race only and stick to that because it’s easier; they choose to focus on the other wonderful things that make them who they are. And that is absolutely fine; it’s completely that person’s choice, and one that we should respect. Then there are other mixed people that identify as two or more races, and choose to make that one of their sole identifiers. I choose the latter. It’s not always easier but without it, I feel half-empty.
This is usually the case with people who look more one race than the other. I am pale for a half-black person. I have blue-green eyes, very light skin and mostly Italian features. Therefore, half of my race is denied by most until it’s somehow “proven”. Whether “proof” be through the use of ghetto slang in the workplace (even though that obviously shouldn’t count as a way in which to “prove” my blackness), or by sharing childhood memories of making soul food with Granny Bell, or by showing someone a picture of my mother. It has to be proven. It has to be “earned”. Otherwise, it’s a joke.
“But why does it matter?” says many a mono-racial person. “Why feel the need to prove anything? Just ignore them.” True. But if it is not “proven”, then the next time there is a conversation about anything regarding black culture, and I chip in, I get stares and offended faces, even when they know I’m black. I am ostracized. And that shouldn’t matter. But it always does. It hurts. So I discuss my mix openly. When talking about family with others, I always bring up both sides. I am open and vocal about my mixed experience; not only to help educate when needed, but to better fit in with other black friends, black coworkers, etc.
So yes, “mixed” is a major part of my identity. We should be allowed that. We should be allowed to take that part of us which is dismissed or denied until proven and use that as our identity. To my mixed brothers and sisters, especially those who look far more one race than the other, we are allowed to use our beautiful blend as a major defining trait.
So many people I know just give up. Everyone sees them as only black, for instance, so it’s just easier to identify strictly as black. And if that’s your preference, then by all means, do what makes you feel like you. But if you choose racial erasure because it’s easier and you still feel upset by it…change it. Fight it. Educate the ignorant. It’s not your job, of course, but you can choose to do it. To identify myself as only white, simply because I look it, is to deny myself half of who I am. I, personally, will not do that to make others comfortable. So I identity whole-heartedly as a mixed woman. We can choose both.
And I do so fully, almost all the time– meaning my mixed identity is incorporated into almost everything I do. I’m certainly not suggesting other mixed friends do that necessarily, but it’s something that makes me feel like me. Embracing my family’s multiple cultures makes me feel whole, complete. The music I listen to is usually traditional music. (I’m weird, y’all.) Nigerian drums and the Moroccan sintir, Italian lutes, Irish fiddles– I love it all, and love to listen to modern music from those places, too. The art on my bedroom wall is Celtic, Italian and Nigerian. Most of my jewelry is also a combination of those. My incense, beauty products– a lot are from those places, too. Living daily life as a sort of embodiment of my family’s cultures makes me feel so much like me.
So let yourself be the beautiful blend you are. It’s a wonderful thing to be mixed. And we are allowed to embrace it as often as we desire. As for myself, identifying first and foremost as “mixed” is something I don’t plan to change anytime in the near future. It makes me too happy. ❤
BLACK BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT RIGHT NOW
For this week’s post, I want to promote JusNik! A friend of mine just started a candle business!! They’re gorgeous, soy, homemade candles and smell amazing. I have the fresh rose and the pumpkin spice ones. They’re super potent, lovely smelling and beautifully packaged! The fall collection is available as of now, and the winter collection will be released November 1st! They’re classy, elegant and perfect for a gift. 🙂 Follow Nickeisha on Instagram at @jusnikcandleco or buy from her website at https://jusnik-candle-co.myshopify.com !