The Double-Edged Sword of Being Multiracial

Being a woman of many colors, I always become excited when I see a woman with mixed race gracing the pages of a magazine or floating down the aisle of a runway. The model brings a different sense of beauty than what is expected to show off a certain fashion or idea and proves that a look isn’t just for one set of people, but for all. Being multiracial, according to some reports, has some great effects on an individual’s health;  immunity for the races of whatever the parents were are passed onto the child, making the child immune to a lot more than if he or she were just one nationality or ethnicity. As great as it is, being multi-ethnic (multi-racial, multi-national…) is a double-edged sword.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the hair of a woman of color is a challenge to deal with. Imagine how it would get complicated for a woman with many backgrounds. Using myself as an example, my hair can either sit as straight as an Asian woman, get as kinky curly as any African-American, be as difficult to hold loose curls as a Caucasian and it has to be styled by a Latina because for some odd reason, she is the only one who understands how multiracial hair works.

Another frustration of descending from multiple different roots is frequently having to be asked to choose sides. On standardized tests, multiracial people have to choose to embrace one part of their identity and deny the rest. At the doctors, we are asked to choose a race and nationality in order to receive proper services, even though for the most part, our issues are exactly the same. On the census, there is no option to be an “other”, one is either one race or must select prefer not to answer.

How is this fair when the world is becoming more and more mixed? It seems like nobody is just one thing anymore, at least not in the United States. Pretty soon, being mixed will be considered the norm. But will our documents change to fit this norm? Will there be more beauty products for the multicolored woman? Will more stylists be adept in how to treat her? How about our schools? Will they adjust in order to encourage students to accept their multiculturalism? Only time will tell.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Olivia Emisar

    August 20, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Ahh, the hair… In my family, we learned the meaning of “good hair” early on. I am trying to reach out to people like myself in order to become visible and be a source of support to one another.

    While my blog is political because by nature, racism is political, I am a fierce advocate of civil and human rights who will call out racism whenever I hear or see it.

    In case you care to read: and understand where we are coming from.

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