My Voice: Being Biracial

Simon B. | Exeter Township High School | Grade 9

Something that isn't talked about much is people of mixed race. Mixed people have different struggles and different ways of viewing things. I am black and white, a very simple combination of race. I used to think that there were two sides of me, a black side and a white side. The realization of what I was probably hit me when George Floyd was killed. During the pandemic I watched the news a lot and there was so much that went on but the main thing that kept coming up was Black Lives Matter. Before this I didn't realize how real and terrifying racism was. Up until then I sort of thought that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended racism. I didn't realize that the ending of segregation didn't end racism at all. I began to question what struggles I may or may not go through being black and white. Black Lives Matter really made me more aware of myself and made me see race everywhere. Watching older tv shows, I realized that there weren't many black people. It hit me how primarily white the place I lived was. As time went on I became more educated on how big racism still is. My realization wasn't complete though. I heard all the time how difficult it was being black in America, but in the back of my head I thought, "but i'm white as well, will I experience less racism because of that?"

When I'm just walking around in my neighborhood I say hi to everyone I see but, a lot of people don't say hi back. At first I thought nothing of it but as it happened more and more I thought, "Is it because I'm black?" So one time another person didn't say hi to me, so I got my friend(who is white) to walk by them and say hi. When he came back he said the man was very nice and gladly said hi. We did this a few more times over the course of about a week and it was the same outcome most of the time.

At family reunions and stuff, me and my sister are often the only people there that look like us. When I'm with the white side of my family I'm always the only one or one of the only people of color. I almost feel like I shouldn't be there. I feel like nobody around me really knows who I am. I picture the people who don't know me thinking "why is he here" or, "how do they know him." I would try to hide the fact that I was black. When with the black side of my family I feel like everybody has more in common with me. We like similar things, we talk similarly and like the same foods. Whenever I'm with them I just feel so comfortable. But I would often feel bad, I felt like I was turning my back on the other side of my family, the other side of me. I didn't want to choose one side over another. But I soon realized it wasn't that my family couldn't accept me, I just wasn't accepting myself. I decided to just be who I was around my family and that anxiety of not fitting in with your family went away. I was comfortable around both sides of my family.

The pandemic gave me lots of time to work on myself, being myself around family turned into a good habit. When I went back to school, things had changed so much. I met a lot of people that I could be myself around and liked me. I didn't have to act extra white or black. It did take time though to find these people. A lot of people didn't like me and some people even denied I was black. Fitting at school can be hard enough but imagine doing it when you didn't even look like anyone. But I found friend groups and people that didn't care that I was different from them.

Lots of the problems I had that came from being biracial, I solved by accepting myself. I have learned to embrace both sides of my culture, not loving one more than another and not trying to hide one. Once I did that I found that being biracial may come with challenges but is also beautiful. My culture is so diverse and rich and once I realized that, I didn't just solve my problems, I generally bettered myself as a person. And I now proudly say that I'm black and white.