Creating a New Race
Four letters have become increasingly present in today’s society:
And rightly so. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic… whatever you are, your race is an important part of your identity. It may even be the first thing someone notices when they meet you, whether they mean to or not.
Your race is more than just your identity. It is your history. It is the identity of others like you. A common denominator. It has influenced the way you talk, the way you raise your children, the way you see the past, present, and future.
So yes, race plays a vital role in today’s society. It is both a gift and a curse. It brings families together and connects individuals on opposite sides of the globe, long lost brothers and sisters forever bonded by distant origins. But it also separates neighbors and breaks the hearts of families that have experienced the struggle for their rightful place in a society that is only now attempting to accept races that are different from those who hold the power.
But we wouldn’t trade our race for anything. When we truly understand who we are, we cannot deny our race. We become empowered by our race. We are proud that we have a history, a culture, a future we can shape to benefit our race. We have a sense of belonging to something that only another member of our race can understand. We speak a secret language of culture. We welcome in outsiders to learn about our race, to share our stories in the history books, but we know that understanding a race and being a part of a race is not the same. And that’s okay because we belong to something so much greater.
But what if you don’t have a race?
Where is your sense of belonging?
Where is your history?
What is your culture?
Who are you connected to?
It is easy to determine your race when your parents and your parent’s parents and your parent’s parent’s parents have all shared the same race, passed down the stories, and taught you to love the little nuances that have shaped who you are.
But what happens when you are a new race?
What happens when you are a unique mixture of different races, a combination that has never been created and will never again come to be? On the outside, to make life easier for those looking in, we simply pick a side.
“Yes, I am White and Asian, but since I live in America I’ll just go with White. Yes, one of my parents is White and one is Black, but I choose Black when a survey asks me for my race.”
However, on the inside we are constantly fighting a battle, constantly searching for a race that looks like our own. Does being a part of two or more races make us any less of the other? Does being Hispanic and Black make me not a real Hispanic or a real Black? Does being both Asian and White in America make me an outsider in the country in which I was born and raised? Which race do you belong to if you are a half-Black, half-Asian living in Brazil?
To many who are strictly of one race, it can be difficult to understand the experience of biracial and multiracial individuals. We support minority races in their struggle for equality and a voice that can make a difference. But we are invisible, sitting on the sidelines, not even a part of the game of life. We blur the lines between races and that confuses people.
We try to confide in each other, with others that feel the need to check “none of the above.” But even in this multiracial community we still don’t belong. Each individual is so different, so unique, that even being together can be extremely alienating. We are special because we are unique, but we are also alone. And we have to explain to the world that this is a good thing, that we can belong to ourselves and be a part of every race and no race. We can create a new race that tells our history. We can create a new race that shares our unique story. We can create a new race that influences how we talk, how we raise our children, and how we choose to see the past, present, and future.
But it isn’t easy. Everywhere we turn there is race. Everywhere we turn we are reminded that we are alone. But if society decides to take us, the mifits, the outsiders, and remind us that we have the opportunity to create a new race that the world wants to see, maybe it will get easier. Maybe we won’t feel so alone. Maybe we, too, can reap the benefits from the pride of being part of a race, of something greater. Maybe we can start to accept that Black and White together is good, that we don’t have to let Asian and White compete for our goals, that being Black and Hispanic doesn’t make you any less of the other. Maybe we will start to see that we are in the unique place to bridge cultures and blur the lines of race. Maybe we will start to see that our identity is worth something, because we are the only ones that have it. Maybe, we can change the way society sees us, the way we see ourselves. And maybe, our future generations will be proud for who they are without giving it a second thought.