The following is based on real-life experiences with my family since the birth of my son. It goes without saying that these situations, from cultural misunderstandings to racial/ethnic insensitivity to flat-out ignorance, likely represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what my biracial son can expect to experience throughout his life.
Rachel Dolezal has me thinking. As someone who actually is racially mixed, who appears white but is of afro-caribbean heritage, I've been feeling pretty vexed by her actions. But also something else. Jealous? Understanding? She is white and has spent years passing as multiracial. I am multiracial but could never pass as anything but a Swedish ski instructor.
My brother and I accepted our mother's version of the affair that produced our sister with few questions, even though Lydia looks completely different from the rest of us. Mom is a long-legged Latina, but my brother and I take after our father. We're both tall blonds. Lydia is petite and cinnamon-coffee dark with tightly curled blue-black hair.
As the number of people who identify as "mixed" increases, discussions around topics concerning people of mixed ancestry are also expanding and challenging our perceptions of race and racism. Critical mixed-race studies and films like Dear White People accomplish the goal of furthering dialogues around race that we can engage in with friends, family, and those in our communities.
Pelaud had always been an outsider. Born in 1965 to a French father and a Vietnamese mother who didn't speak much French, she grew up in rural France feeling isolated, both geographically and culturally. She had trouble making friends and didn't do well in school. No one believed that she would amount to much.