WOMEN

19 Things Multiracial Women Want You To Know

06/09/2015 09:24 am ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015
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Apparently, by 2050 everyone in the world is going to be beige. But right now, in 2015, being a multiracial woman is not common, so it's not always easy.

While being able to move through different cultures is a privilege, being multiracial is still relatively unusual in a society so deeply defined along racial lines. Being multiracial means fitting into many different groups -- but never entirely.

My sister and I are half black, a quarter white, and a quarter Indian with British accents, and everyone we meet seems eager to immediately "place" us into neat boxes. It's human nature to be curious about people's backgrounds, and trying to solve the "puzzle" of a multiracial person is understandably interesting. But being the puzzle that people want to solve isn't always great.

I'm not alone in feeling these things. We asked women from the HuffPost Women and HuffPost Black Voices Facebook communities to share what they wish they could tell the world about the experience of being mixed-race. Here are 19 things multiracial women want you to know:

1. "What are you?" is a really frustrating question to answer. We're not deep sea specimens or a rare type of pondweed. "I wish people knew that I am open to discussing my heritage, upbringing, or anything in between, however the question, 'What are you?' is entirely offensive. I am a human being, just like the rest of us." -- Jessica, age 28, Washington

2. Please -- we beg of you -- stop asking to touch our hair.

3. We know race is just a social construct, and that it's character that really matters. "We always see people for the love and laughter and kindness, honesty, loyalty, or anything else they bring to the friendship or relationship that makes them great friends and significant others. We don't ever worry our family may not like someone based on race because we know skin color never divides us when it comes to love and friends. A person's character and love are what matter." -- Kristy, age 34, Alaska

4. Our identities sometimes make it tough to "belong." "Society has a habit of trying to box you into one category or another, whether it be gender, religion, race, etc., and when you fall in between those lines it can be really hard to fit in." -- Nadhia, age 20, Florida

5. We don't want to hear your racist garbage. "I wish that white people would stop unleashing their racism around me. Just because I have light skin doesn't mean it's 'safe' for you to share your offensive comments, so don't tell me things you wouldn't tell a black person." -- Sarah, age 32, Brooklyn

6. We define our own narratives. "You yourself get to decide what your story is, when you tell it, how you tell it, to whom you tell it, when you decide not to tell. When life changes, you get to change your story." -- Iffy, age 37, Brussels

7. There is no such thing as being "color blind" when it comes to race.

8. Our siblings probably don't look exactly like us. "Yes, my siblings are darker and lighter than me. This is normal." -- Alicia, age 28, Oregon

9. "Being multiracial is a blessing -- it's the love of two people from different cultures and perspectives that collide to add understanding, tolerance and beauty to a chaotic world." -- Yumi, age 40, Texas

10. "Exotic" is not a compliment.

11. "Some of us prefer not to go into fractions and percentages because we are one whole human being. Again, this is our right." -- Jackie, 25, California

12. Please don't confuse our kids by asking if they are adopted, fostered, or have different parents. "I have two daughters who have the same biological parent, me and my husband. One is tall and dark skinned with very dark straight hair. The other lighter skinned short and has crazy curly brown hair with natural blond highlights. I am constantly asked if they are adopted because one looks very much like her father, and the other has dark skin." -- Kristy, age 34, Alaska

13. We want to be seen as more than a skin color. "I would love people to see beyond the color of my skin. I would love for people to not think it is acceptable to refer to me by the color of my skin. I am so much more. My heritage and culture is comprised of so much more than they see or assume. And I am proud of every race that combined to make this body. And i refuse to deny any of my lineage to fit into someone's racial identity box!" -- Marissa, age 32

14. Yes, you can be "both." Or all three. Or all four. "If anyone asks how I identify myself, I say I am BOTH. I have a Māori mother and a Pākehā father; why should I have to identify as one thing when I am not?? People tried to fit me into a box and I thought that was how it was supposed to be. I know now how wrong that was." -- Courtney, age 28, New Zealand

15. "Don't EVER presume to tell someone they're not '(insert race/culture) enough.' People who come from a multicultural background all experience those cultures differently, and more than likely they've struggled with their identity a LOT throughout life. Maybe I don't present myself the way you expect, but it's MY life and MY cultural identity. I will express that however I see fit, and NO one has a right to say I'm not enough of one or another. -- Alysha, age 25, Baltimore

16. "I knew you weren't all white!" is not a polite thing to say. If you feel the need to comment at all, rephrase.

17. Don't assume we will conform to racial stereotypes. "I don't feel like I should have to act a certain way because of the color of my skin." -- Victoria, age 21, Washington

18. Use the words we use to define ourselves. If you don't know what label someone prefers, stay away from phrases like "half-breed" and "mutt" -- we are humans, not dogs.

19. We are unique. "I am me, stop comparing me with stereotypes." -- Adele, age 21, California

What would you add to this list? Comment below, or tweet us @HuffPostWomen.

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