Matheson Bossick’s Family
This year’s Multiracial Heritage week has come during the greatest social unrest in recent memory. With everything going on in the world today, we hope that you are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times. While it is important to keep these events in mind, our focus now shifts to what makes us, as multiracial people, so unique and special.
My mother who is mainly Caucasian was born in Tennessee in the early 80’s. Although I am biologically half-Caucasian, I have always felt a strong presence in the Puerto Rican community because of my step-grandmother. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, both of my step-grandmother’s parents are from Puerto Rico. Growing up, I spent a lot of time around this side of my family and embraced the culture as a part of my identity. I grew up eating Hispanic food, listening to Hispanic music, and even learning parts of the language. While I am not Hispanic by blood, I have always remained very close to this part of my family.
My father was born in Cambodia in 1979, during the Khmer Rouge Regime. While my grandmother is Chinese and fair skinned, my grandfather is Khmer and very much dark skinned, which led to my father and his siblings being mostly darker skinned. After escaping Communist Cambodia and ending up in a Thai refugee camp, my family was moved to the states in the early 80’s. The miscellaneous appearance of my father and his siblings led to a lot of confusion about his ethnicity from people of other races. They were often mistaken as African Americans, Hispanics, and even Hawaiians. While I am not as dark as my father, I myself am rarely ever considered to be of Asian descent. While difficult at times, I like to use other people’s confusion to explain and show my Asian heritage. Things like attending temple events, eating Khmer food, listening to Khmer music, and speaking the language always remind me of my family’s history and how important it is to me.
In my generation, I am the oldest of five siblings in my family. I have two Caucasian brothers on my mother’s side, and a brother and sister who are completely Asian on the other. While as a biracial person in this society, I realize that it is easier in some ways to identify as Caucasian, I have always tended to identify more strongly with the Asian and sometimes even the Hispanic parts of my family. I have had the opportunity to experience all kinds of cultures that many people will never get to see, which is what makes me love being multiracial and makes my perspective on race so unique. My goal is not to see people as members of separate races, but rather to use my diverse experiences to share my various cultures with others.
Matheson Bossick, Project RACE Teens Vice President