Kiani, age 20
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
I am Portuguese, African American, Native American and Scottish! I have family from many different parts of Portugal. I'm still trying to figure out which part of Africa my family descends from. I have Native American blood, Blackfoot tribe to be exact. And lastly I have some Scottish in my blood
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
I currently am living in Connecticut.
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
Yes, very! There are many people of mixed ethnicities here.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I was born and raised in Connecticut, I grew up in a quiet part of Danbury. There were a handful of mixed kids in my elementary and middle school. Once I got into high school there were so many mixed kids that I identified with and could relate too. Regardless if it was the music we listened to, our race, or even the hair types we had, there was always some similarity between us and I loved it.
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
I'm not too sure exactly where or how they met but I'm glad that they did!
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
My mom's side of the family is very old fashioned and believe that dating inside of your race is the best option. When my mom told everyone that she was pregnant it caused arguments between both sides of my family because of everyone's different opinions on my mom and dad being together.
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL?
In the beginning I don't think certain members were supportive of me being multiracial but now that I'm older and I made it clear that their opinions about me being me no longer matter they slowly backed off.
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
I like to celebrate any special holiday and/or month related to my ethnicities. My parents somewhat celebrated their cultures but I personally wanted to know anything and everything about mine and decided to take it upon myself to learn and celebrate in every way possible.
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
Growing up I lived with my grandmother. She's Portuguese and spoke it a lot around me, I knew simple things like small phrases and sentences and prayers. I don't speak it fluently but I do want to someday.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I love just about everything when it comes to my cultural background. As far as my Portuguese side goes I love the music, the delicious food, and the traditional clothing that Portuguese woman wore. My African American side is the same. I love how strong my culture is and how they embrace everything through music and the use of the instruments. Wether it be a song about the beautiful animals and sights in Africa or about how far African descendants came over the years, everything is just so beautiful.
My Native American side is all about family and being there for one another which I think is amazing.
My Scottish side has beautiful music, land, and great food as well. Overall I can say that when it comes to all of my cultures family is something that ALWAYS comes first. All of my cultures are strong about what they believe and I absolutely love that.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
I would constantly get books, movies, and CD's that talked about the culture, people, food, and the country itself. It helped me learn so much and make me so much more interested in myself and the different things that make me, me.
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
In my household I would ask questions about my race and my ancestors from time to time but it mainly happened in school, I would constantly ask other kids about their race, family and culture, it intrigued me so much to learn about other people like me.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I definitely identity as mixed.
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
Race doesn't play a part in who I choose to date. I would date in or out of my race, it just depends on the person.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
To me being mixed means being different and special. Having hair that many people would love to have, having a history behind my ethnicities that make me so proud of being who I am. Things like that make being mixed so special to me.
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
I don't have many mixed friends but I do have a lot that are from completely different cultures than me. It's interesting to hear about their culture, history, and stories about them being who they are.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
You really want to know what grinds my gears?! *insert Peter Griffen voice here* when people assume that being mixed is a bad thing. I can't stand the fact that people are still stuck in the thought that you need to date inside of your race. Like seriously?! It's 2016, get over it. People love who they love.
But then you have those people who want to have a baby out of their race because having a mixed baby is "the new trend". They treat it like we're some experiments but years ago they didn't want us and couldn't stand the thought of us. Another thing I absolutely can't stand is when I'm around people and they come up to me and touch my curls, then have the nerve to ask what type of weave I'm wearing. I just look at them and in my head I have thoughts of choking them out. Not every person who's black wears a weave. And even if they do, why does it matter? If it makes a person feel beautiful then so be it. People have these assumptions, labels and stereotypes about the black culture that makes a lot of us not love who we are and it's wrong. It really makes me so angry and upset.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
My dream for the future of America in regards to race is for everyone to stop the hate and the violence towards different cultures, ethnicities, and people. I really hope and pray that we can all just love each other and be together as one entire nation in peace. No hate, violence, stereotypes, or judging. Just pure love and respect.