home Opinion Secretly Mixed: Being mixed race when no one can tell

Secretly Mixed: Being mixed race when no one can tell

Erika Hillhouse | ehillhouse20@dtechhs.org | September 14, 2019

Senior Alyssa Wend. Photo by Erika Hillhouse

Everywhere you look, you see people and subconsciously automatically judge them. You might assume someone’s race by looking at their skin or someone’s heritage by their name, speech patterns, or languages they speak. But in many cases, people are not always what they appear to be. Just like you should not judge a book by its cover, you should not judge a person based on their looks.

There are many mixed-raced students at d.tech, myself included, who feel like they cannot be a part of a single group. Senior Lily Chambers said, “If I were to sum it up I would say it’s confusing being mixed race and kind of difficult because you feel like you can’t really fit in with one group of people.” On the other hand, Senior Noah Chen said, “I feel like it’s a blessing being more than one race just because wherever I am I can identify with people and empathize with them.” 

 A lot of people that are mixed race tend to feel like they don’t really fit in with one group, especially if they don’t look the part. I am half Chinese and half white, so at my family reunions most everyone there is Asian or looks Asian – even my sisters – which makes me feel like I don’t really fit in when I’m there. Chambers, who is Mexican on her mom’s side, and white on her dad’s side, has had a similar experience: “If I’m with Hispanics then it feels like I’m missing something or like I can’t really be in their group because I don’t look like them. But if I’m with white people…it just feels weird.” 

In the past, I have been told that because I do not look Chinese or speak the language, I cannot be Chinese. There have been times when people have told me that I was lying about my race. Both Chambers and Chen had mentioned that they too have had experiences where people told them they were lying about being mixed race. “Some people didn’t know I was not just Chinese after years of being friends with them for a long time, and then I told them and they thought I was lying,” said Chen. Chambers seconds these feelings by saying “I’ve had people say, ‘Oh I don’t believe you,’ and even if I tell them, ‘Well, my mom is Mexican,’ they say ‘Oh you’re lying. There’s no way’ and it’s just like, people take it too far,” said Chambers.

Being mixed race can become confusing or difficult when trying to explain what races you are or even just filling out a form. Senior Alyssa Wend said that when she takes a standardized test, she has to check off the box for “Other” because she cannot put “German and Chinese”.

My own experience with being mixed has led to me identifying more with my white culture because it is what people say I look more like. Because of that, I have begun to lose my Chinese culture because I felt like I did not belong to my Chinese heritage. Not being able to feel like you belong anywhere or having people make assumptions about you can be hard for anyone – especially when you are only a teenager.

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