Black, White and Somewhere in Between

我们通过发表论文来表彰学生编辑大赛的前 11 名获奖者。这是路易莎·罗森伯格-奇里博加,15岁。

。。。Janick Gilpin为《纽约时报》撰稿

这篇文章由来自圣地亚哥弗朗西斯帕克学校的15岁的Louisa Rosenberg-Chiriboga撰写,是学习网络第九届年度学生评论大赛的前11名获奖者之一,我们收到了16,664份参赛作品。

Black, White and Somewhere in Between

What are you?

I came face to face with the seemingly innocuous question for the first time in third grade when we were asked to check a box citing our race for a standardized test. I paused for a second, hovering over the “White,” “Hispanic/Latino” and “Other” boxes. I thought of my Jewish father, whose family I had spent many Friday night Shabbats with. I thought of my mother, whose Ecuadorean family and culture I had not yet had the opportunity to connect with. I considered my green eyes, brown hair and pale skin, which make people who pass by me view me as white. I chose the “Hispanic/Latino” box, yet I still found myself confused.

This is a universal question for mixed race students around the country. After all, it was not until 2000 that the United States Census Bureau began allowing people of mixed race status to check more than one box regarding their racial identity. But this doesn’t automatically mean that multiracial people — especially young multiracial students — grow up in an environment that understands them and helps them in the process of self-discovery.

These students are often taught in an educational setting that wants to box them neatly into one specific race. This creates a lot of pressure for students to “choose a side” and ultimately leaves them feeling like they do not belong anywhere. While something like being forced to check “Other” on an occasional survey or test may seem trivial, it is an indication of the larger erasure and invalidation of mixed race people’s identities.

According to The New York Times, the population of self-identifying multiracial people has increased 276 percent since the 2010 census, from nine million people to 33.8 million people, or more than 10 percent of the United States’ population. And as the population grows, so does the idea of being mixed race as its own identity.

Obviously, more mixed race people results in more mixed race students, which means that schools need to provide spaces for young, impressionable minds to feel acknowledged and to be able to explore and celebrate their multiple racial identities. Many schools have clubs for supporting students of a singular race (which mixed race students are still encouraged to participate in), however, there are not many organizations available for the unique multiracial experience. Faculty and administrators should work to familiarize themselves with specific mixed race struggles if we as a society want to understand and support this growing population.

We mixed race students are not going away, and like many other issues surrounding students, the education system needs to get in line.

Works Cited

Guzman, Andrea. “Can You Be ‘White Passing’ Even If You Aren’t Trying?” Mother Jones, Jan. 2022.

Hegstrom, Sofia. “All Mixed Up: Multiracial Students at C.V.H.S. Say They Don’t Fit in One Box.” The Upstream, 2 Feb. 2022.

Tavernise, Sabrina, Tariro Mzezewa and Giulia Heyward. “Behind the Surprising Jump in Multiracial Americans, Several Theories.” The New York Times, 13 Aug. 2021.