Blackness Our Perspective: The biracial side of Blackness

by MSR News Online

Among those challenges are identity issues:

(1) Some people of mixed heritage may struggle with their sense of identity. Some may even feel disconnected from both sides of their heritage, leading to a search for belonging and acceptance.

(2) Microaggressions and racism: Mixed-race individuals, particularly those with a Black parent, may face microaggressions (indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group) and discrimination from within and outside their communities. This can include racial profiling, stereotyping and prejudice.

(3) Family dynamics: Multiracial families may experience internal tensions related to cultural differences, societal perceptions, and family expectations.

(5) External cultural pressures: Some individuals of mixed heritage may feel pressured to conform to one specific racial or cultural identity, which can lead to feelings of erasure or the suppression of the other non-dominant cultural side.

Courtesy photo(l-r) Kylee Jackman and brother Anthony Gaston

Kylee Jackman, 18, a biracial teen from Bloomington, Minnesota, shared what it is like growing up interracial. “ I identify myself as biracial, but a lot of times I don’t even mention race only because it leads to 1,000 questions and pictures,” she explained. “I don’t feel like justifying who I am every time someone else is curious about my race.”

She adds that because she appears White to the common eye, the question of race is not asked as much. “I like to think that I’m the only person who treats myself differently.”

Being a biracial teen she is expected to wrestle with the dual cultures embedded from birth, but not young Kylee. “I believe that I have a unique personality that nobody can really imitate. This is because of being raised by two different cultures and seeing two viewpoints.”

Kylee’s older brother Anthony Gaston, 30, being a darker shade than his sister, has sometimes felt some have treated him differently because he’s of mixed heritage. “Yes and no; because nobody believes my mom’s White. People would not expect me to have a White mother being the shade I am,” Anthony explains. But he adds that there have been times he’s felt that he had to pick a side, based on his surroundings.

He also sees a strength in being biracial. “It’s the best of both worlds, learning two different cultures, two different upbringings,” he said, while concluding that he prefers to be identified as mixed-race.

As for navigating between the two cultures, Kylee expressed that the differences are quickly noticed at family events. “At one side of the family, we have family reunions near farms with hot dogs, homemade Rice Krispy bars, and so on. At the other, we’re having cookouts with barbecue and R&B music. So between the two, I do notice a change in my personality. Given the setting, I notice a shift in my cultural identity,” she explained.

Regarding the data on states with the most people identified as biracial, the Pew Research Center found that the states with the highest percentage of biracial individuals in the United States are Hawaii, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Nevada. However, it’s important to note that the experience of mixed-race individuals can vary widely based on factors such as geographic location, socioeconomic status, and individual family dynamics.