I’ve written about the special blend of racism that multi-cultural kids and grown-ups face in a past blog before. Today I wanted to talk about other challenges that mixed children experience.
You may not relate if you have grown up in a single culture, but if you have mixed blooded friends have them read this blog.
As many of you already know, I’m Métis. If you are new here, this means that I’m a mix of Native American and Caucasian cultures.
It means my skin is naturally a shade darker than my caucasian friends. It also means that it’s perfectly normal for me to give birth to a child that took on our Irish roots adding to people’s confusion about our cultural background. So I’m walking around with a permanent tan and dark hair (now white) and my child is blond and blue/grey-eyed with freckles. People often assume she’s adopted, which is not the case. She also faces challenges because people don’t believe that she’s Métis like her parents and assume she’s another white girl having issues with cultural appropriation.
People look at me and they are confused. I’m darker, yet not brown. My eyes are small and too slanted for a Caucasian girl, but too round for Asian girl. People look at me and they are puzzled. I’m what the world likes to call racially ambiguous or ethnically mysterious.
People think that I’m everything and anything other than I actually am. People think I’m Italian, Mexican, etc. Ever since I was little, I always got questions like: “What are you?”. They don’t ask “Who are you, but what are you?” as if you weren’t even from the human race. It’s true that my mom was born in March (Mars in French) and is allergic to the sun) so she may be an alien or a vampire. The jury is still out on that one. 😛
They ask “Where are you from?” Here. This country. For centuries before it even existed. Growing up, I turned it into a game and asked people to guess. In my entire lifetime, only one person guessed correctly and that’s because he was from the same background as me.
Others deny my Native American background because I don’t have the “right” look or I don’t live on a reserve or the fact that I’m partially Caucasian means that any other culture gets wiped out of existence. Most Métis don’t live on reserves, for your information. You don’t get to invalidate biracial/mixed/multiracial people’s identities because they are part Caucasian and just decide that they are Caucasian because you think only people of colour who are 100% non-white are legit/valid. That is some colonial bullshit.
On my first day of college, as we were waiting in the hallway for the teacher to arrive, I was told by a white boy with a strong British accent that I should be sent back to my country. He either knows nothing about North America History or he mistook me for some other minority. So I smiled and decided to educate him…
- What entitles you, a Britsh citizen to tell anyone in Canada that they should be deported? This isn’t your country. You are an immigrant yourself.
- I’m Métis, one of the 3 First Nation cultures. So if anyone is home, that’s me. Seriously, there is no higher irony than being First Nation and being told to go home!
I always end up making my own box on ethnicity surveys, because Métis never quite appears on them. Am I caucasian? Yes, but it’s not the entire story. Am I Native American? Yes, but it’s not the entire story. Where’s the box for mixed?