I remember growing up and having friends who were mixed race and listening to them talk about the difficulties of filling out those identifying forms. You know the ones here in the US where you can only check one box for Caucasian, Black or African American, Native American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American, etc. It always saddened me that we had yet to find a way to make everyone feel included on something like the US Census, which including everyone is the most important point of that form.
I have never had the option to have a race preference. Although I have other than African in my DNA, physically, I am clearly identified as African American. But for those of mixed race, just by looking, there are sometimes ambiguity as to the origins of their race. Historically, people of minority groups have been shunned for just being. When presented with the opportunity, passing for a more favorable race became preference, which still occurs today.
My husband is of mixed race and he has had to deal with many different adversities when presenting himself due to the assumptions others have about his physical features. He is proud of both sides of himself (which I am grateful for all that I have learned from him) but has suffered greatly based on the opinions of others.
You shouldn’t rely on your preconceived notions of what race is and pass judgement. No one wants to deal with being hated, ignored, discriminated against so the best option for some is to live under the assumptions of other to avoid undue retribution. When I think about myself and if I would try to pass for a more favorable race if given the opportunity– I don’t know. All I know is my experience as a black female and I am comfortable with that.
What I do know is that the whole world needs to accept everyone as they are. There is no bad, good, better, best. There is only one race –the human race (cheesy, I know). But what I really mean is even within the same race, you will not find another just like you and the person who is most like you may be in a different race. So much is missed when shortsightedness is the primary view of the world. Eventually, everyone will have physical features that are racial ambiguous and all this race discrimination will only prove our societal stupidity.
When you’re out and about and come in contact with someone you normally would not interact with, send a smile and a cheerful hello! If each of us did this, hopefully people who feel excluded will not feel the need to set a preference for how they present themselves to the world.