"She's so pretty ... where did she come from?" is one of many obnoxious questions Chris Kelly is routinely asked about her Biracial (half White and half African American) daughter.
It got me thinking about the questions people have asked both my parents and me about my brothers’ and my ambiguous looks. And while I don’t believe all multiracial people and our monoracial parents experience all of these questions, my bet is that many can resonate with this list.
And before your White fragility forces you to express how insulted you are that I am addressing this, try and remove yourselves from the equation and think about how your invasiveness, your lack of imagination, your inability to think before you speak, your insensitivity and your ability to personalize everything affects us. Please.
Questions and Declarations Multiracial People are Tired of Hearing
You’re So Exotic!
People, please! I am not a Chia Pet! While you may think this is a compliment, it’s not. My appearance may be different from yours, but that’s all it is—different. It’s not exotic. I am the product of my parents’ relationship the same way you are. We don’t need to make it more or less than it is.
Can I Touch Your Hair?
No! If you’re still unsure why, refer to the discussion on me not being a Chia Pet.
Stop Fetishizing Us!
It’s not unusual for people to have a type when looking for a partner. I like men to be of similar height, weight and build. I also like them to be on the introverted and shy side. They need to be intellectual, funny, think outside the box and nonconformists. As far as what race they are, by the time I was in my 20s I was tired of men fetishizing me—White, Black, Latino, Hispanic and Asian men did this to me.
I fell in love with my husband because he never once saw me as more beautiful because my ambiguous looks. He is monoracial and like him, we’d both previously dated people who spanned the rainbow.
I Have a Friend Who’s Biracial. Do You Know Her?
While you may feel it’s safe to stick to your kind, I have friends who are both monoracial and multiracial. I don’t choose or not choose my friends based on that one commonality we have. Difficult though it may be to believe, we have other things in common that bring us together and moreover, I don’t know every Biracial person out there.
There is Only One Race: The Human Race
This one is tricky because on the face of it, it’s true. The difference in human beings is far tinier than one might believe looking at obvious physical differences. And race is indeed a social construct, however, as long as people are treated differently based solely on skin color, we aren’t even close to making that claim yet.
Don’t get me started on examples, but I’ll give you a hint:
· Cops using Blacks, Latinos, Hispanics and Natives as target practice
· People of Color (PoC) incarcerated at disproportionate rates than Whites
· Whites crossing the street when they see a PoC
I Don’t See Color
This one is particularly annoying. Really? You see no difference between the blue skies, the green leaves on trees, the yellow sun and so on? No, I didn’t think so. Admitting to seeing color isn’t the same as discriminating against or making judgments about because of color.
What Kind of Music Do Multiracial People Listen To?
Do I really have to explain why this question is stupid and obnoxious? We listen to whatever appeals to us, the same way monoracial people do. Are we swayed one way or another because we’re more than one race? That answer is very complex and relates to bigger issues of who we are on the inside vs. what you see on the outside.
Like monoracial people, I like the music I do because of the way I was raised, the environment (both in my home and outside my home) I was exposed to and my personality. I can listen to folk, hard rock, hip hop, salsa, classical and jazz and this variation may or may not have anything to do with my races.
Questions and Declarations Monoracial Parents of Multiracial Kids are Tired of Hearing
Are You the Nanny?
My mother was half Black and half Japanese and my father was White. We all got tired of people asking that same stupid question. It is actually possible my parents fell in love and made babies. The question is racist and grounded in colonization / imperialism. Would you think of asking a White parent of a multiracial / ambiguous looking child if she were the nanny?
And How Did You Meet Him?
This is a subtle one because the question doesn’t appear racist but when the emphasis is on the you and the him it is. The inference being my parents were in different social stratospheres. Had the question been, “how did you two meet?” it would be far less offensive because it assumes they are both equals vs. one having superiority over the other. It works in reverse if the question is, “how did you meet her?”
So You’re Into (fill in the blank) Women / Men? What’s Wrong With…?
Personality traits, temperaments and whether someone is introverted or extroverted are what attracted you to your partner, no? Why would you assume it’s different for someone who fell in love with a person who’s a different race?
That you feel the need to question someone else’s choices seems like a personal problem. Get over it.
Have You Thought About How Society Will See Your Children?
That’s usually code for, “I am a well-intentioned racist and I am uncomfortable with your choice to marry outside your race and have children with this person.”
Well, that’s a personal problem, ain’t it?