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Biraciality; What it means to be BIPOC and White Presenting

White Privilege and a Mixed Ethnicity Still Leave Those With More Than One Race Marginalized Despite Public Outcry

By Sai Marie JohnsonPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
Biraciality; What it means to be BIPOC and White Presenting
Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

In a world where people of color are still mistreated by a very obvious and corrupt system set in place by those who wished to control and dominate other landmasses; there is an old saying about how children of mixed ethnicities will never truly find their place. This is a sad reality for many children of interracial couples; particularly when their children are born white-presenting.

The reality of having a child who is any shade when you are in an interracial relationship is higher than one might think. I have met innumerable beautiful children of some lovely interracial couples and though most of the time the dominant genes do supersede, there are many cases where a child with a black parent and a white parent ends up being born white presenting. This also occurs with every other race, and I've met some wonderful couples with lovely families and children of many different shades.

In fact, my own four children are all biracial with Latino, Native American, Caribbean Islander, and Caucasian ancestry. Three of my children are quite tan and their father is from Mexico. My youngest child, however, came from another marriage to someone who was also Biracial, like myself; I am Native American and Caucasian and am the descendant of a Tsalagi lineage. With my youngest child, I expected him to be born with dark hair, eyes, and skin like his father who was Puerto Rican, Native American and Caucasian himself. When we had a child with bright blue eyes and nearly porcelain skin to match his carrot-colored hair, I was stunned.

Hearing my own birth stories, my mother is Native American with tanned skin, jet black Native hair, and smoldering brown eyes. She is a truly beautiful lady and my father was a striking Nordic-looking fellow with blonde hair, not pale skin but certainly of the Caucasian beige coloring. My son was far fairer than him, but apparently, my mom lamented when I was born with light skin, Strawberry Blonde/Auburn hair, and eyes that eventually became hazel; shifting from blue, green, and brown with golden speckling - a strangely individual trait I later learned to appreciate about myself.

I would like to outline how I am proud of my heritage. I'm happy to be my grandfather's granddaughter and I often speak up on Indigenous Rights, Land Back, and the backing of the Native American and First Nations' Rights to not only exist but to thrive on their land. I have heard my family's stories about the way they've been treated. I've seen the racism displayed toward Native Americans and then I've found myself thrown into the center. Time and time again. I will refrain from using some of the terms thrown in my direction for they are so vulgar and profane one should not use them, as I see it. But to summarize, the gist of it is liar, too white or mutt.

My mother once told me as a little girl that she had been abused greatly for being Native American and said to get used to being told there was no place for me in the world. Not just because I was part Native American, but because I was not of a station in life to be considered more than 'white trash,' and that is an awful thing to say, but she was not saying it to degrade us. This was done as a warning about what to expect from the people outside of my home space.

In time, I grew to quickly learn what my mother meant by me not having a real place I felt I belonged. My soul yearned and resonated with my Native roots, but because of my skin, I often felt like I could never fully understand their pain. I tried to use my skin to protect my darker-skinned loved ones, but when my children were toddlers playing in their yard and a white supremacist yelled from across the street about not speaking Spanish and the little mixed kids needing to be taught English instead; I knew that this was something I was going to battle for the rest of my life.

And, here I am in my mid-thirties doing just that because the most recent trend to start up is pointing out not only how white I am but the one feature that shows my Native ancestry: my very large and crooked Native American nose. It matches my high cheekbones, and oddly it's not the first time I've been made fun of for it. That happened the very day I was born by my mother's elder sister who was stunned by how white I was, had no black hair, and a nose bigger than my mom ever thought to have. She actually told my mother she had an ugly baby and I was the firstborn granddaughter in the family. Naturally, as I grew up more people made fun of me for my nose, but as much as I hated being ostracized from my Native roots that nose was part of the proof of my genetics - it meant that I had something I could claim and show for who I felt I was inside.

What does that mean? Who was I inside? Not the little girl with a big nose and skin so light that she didn't match the look of some of her other relatives. In a world where we encourage other people to transition into being whomever they feel they are inside - people who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and find their soul feels an affinity with one race over the other should be allowed to claim that heritage without anyone else defining it for them.

In fact, Paris Jackson, Michael Jackson's daughter discussed how she feels she is a black woman and that nobody has a right to define or remove her blackness. This is a part of who she is. And it is true - though Paris does have a white mother, her father was a black man.

However, there are also those people with an affinity for all sides of their genetics and heritage and they too should be allowed to claim their racial identities however they see fit.

What needs to change is making people who don't look a certain shade feel like they don't belong and treating others with preferential treatment, disdain, and cruelty based on their appearance as well. It is good to encourage all people to truly be themselves, but on the same token if we deny anyone their own choice to be the identity they are inside what kind of traumatic effects do we expect to see?

So, think before you speak. Just like misgendering is unacceptable once you are made aware; you should never assume you know anyone's ethnic background simply based on the color of their skin, nor should you attack a person's looks or use their appearance to weaponize against them.

Educate yourself and when you find you're performing an error - admit it and quit it. The first step to a better tomorrow is in recognizing the flaws of today and correcting them before the next dawn comes.


About the Creator

Sai Marie Johnson

A multi-genre author, poet, creative&creator. Resident of Oregon; where the flora, fauna, action & adventure that bred the Pioneer Spirit inspire, "Tantalizing, titillating and temptingly twisted" tales.

Pronouns: she/her

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