Are you mixed?

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When people see me they just know that I am mixed. They always ask me what I am. But I'm mixed with ...not really a lot but just a variety. I am a teeny bit Blackfoot Indian and I am African American, Puerto Rican and white. But no one ever knows. I get Arab or just Puerto Rican a lot of the time. Some people just come up to me and start blabbering in Spanish and I give them this dumbfounded look and they say no habla ingles? Or sometimes they will say things in English then switch to Spanish and if I answer them back in the little Spanish I do know they'll be like omg you know Spanish.. It's so weird sometimes..
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When people see me they just know that I am mixed. They always ask me what I am. But I'm mixed with ...not really a lot but just a variety. I am a teeny bit Blackfoot Indian and I am African American, Puerto Rican and white. But no one ever knows. I get Arab or just Puerto Rican a lot of the time. Some people just come up to me and start blabbering in Spanish and I give them this dumbfounded look and they say no habla ingles? Or sometimes they will say things in English then switch to Spanish and if I answer them back in the little Spanish I do know they'll be like omg you know Spanish.. It's so weird sometimes..
Originally Posted by moonwalkgirl25
Yes, girl, I can definitely relate to this! I live in South Florida which has a big Hispanic/Latino population and people speak Spanish to me all the time. I'm very fair-skinned but with very dark hair and dark eyes, so perhaps that explains why people often think I'm Cuban or Dominican or anything but what I really am...black and white, with some Indian and Lebanese ancestry in the mix.

I don't speak Spanish at all (it is a must if you live in Miami) and it can be a bit awkward when people expect you to carry on a conversation when you don't speak their language or if they've mistaken you for another ethnicity.

I've also been mistaken for Asian (how crazy is that?!) I figure it's because they think that every petite woman under 5'3" who has light skin and dark hair must be Asian.
I get that question all the time or i get "what are you mixed with" "what's your nationality". It's really no big deal to me......I just say I'm mixed with my mom and dad and they giggle.

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Originally Posted by kurlygurly
The question about nationality always bothers me, because people tend to phrase it incorrectly. "Nationality" means where a person was born or what country they come from, which is different from race/ethnicity.

I've had to explain to people that my race/ethnicity is multiracial (black, just to make things short) but my nationality is American because I was born in this country and I've always participated in things that are traditionally American, although I embrace my Jamaican heritage as well. People also hear an American accent coming from me, so it kind of makes no sense to ask me where I come from or compliment me on how well I speak English when I've spoken it my whole life (yes, this has happened to me).
People ask me all the time but they don’t just ask me what I’m mixed with they ask me where I'm from or where my parents are from!...and then when I say CANADIAN since I was born here and have only ever lived in Toronto they proceed to ask me where my parents are from like they don’t believe someone who is mixed can be a Canadian. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world but if you are not white and you say you are Canadian people want you to delve into your parents backgrounds which bugs me because unless you are Native Indian you aren’t native Canadian hence everyone came here the same way.

Some of the time it isn’t that I am offended that people associate me with a race or culture that I don’t belong to or even if they think I am mixed it’s just the hassle of answering the questions so many times that it irks me some. I get asked a lot, from the guy who works in the gas station to a woman whose table was beside ours at a restaurant and leaned over into my private dinner with my hubby to ask me! I have been asked if I was everything from Trinidadian, Guyanese, Puerto Rican and Brazilian, Indian, and Arabic...I am actually mixed with Indian, Irish and West Indian.

The questions usually differs depending on how I wear my hair. When it’s straight I mostly get Indian and when it’s curly I get Latin a lot. The hair in my family differs a lot, my grandmother is Irish and is a natural red head freckles and all while my other grandmother has long straight Indian hair...I love being a mixture of different cultures I actually find it quite fun.
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Last edited by Ericachristina; 10-31-2012 at 06:31 PM.
^ya I was suprised to find out its kind of like certain areas of the U.S. just people from all over the world.
One of my mom's friend actually has a daughter in Canada.The daughter is from Suriname but is part Indian(Asia) and Black from Suriname.I can only image how it is for her.

I mostly get asked if I'm African but I just say American Black.Or when people ask where I'm from I say america,I don't like explaining everything especially with total strangers.It took me awhile to tell my friends because I know most people don't know where Suriname is located.
I am Canadian, and I am Native (Cree and Montagnais) mixed with French and German, as well as some Pyrenian blood. Makes for an interesting family and mix I would rather be mixed than anything else...I love *all* my varied ancestors! lol! The only thing I don't like is when people ask me "what" I am. I am me, of course! Race has nothing to do with it
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[B][SIZE=3][FONT=Georgia]Yes, girl, I can definitely relate to this! I live in South Florida which has a big Hispanic/Latino population and people speak Spanish to me all the time. I'm very fair-skinned but with very dark hair and dark eyes, so perhaps that explains why people often think I'm Cuban or Dominican or anything but what I really am...black and white, ...
Originally Posted by curlyhoneyb
Don't know if this helps clarify your experience, but sounds to me like they probably CAN tell you are "black and white" Many or most Latino, Cuban and Dominican people are a mix of African and Caucasian ... and often more. If they think you're Puerto Rican or Brazilian, same thing. Heck, same if they say you look like an Arab - all those groups are very racially mixed. Many North Africans (leaving out most Sudanese, Somalians, Eritreans and Ethiopians) can blend right in with Saudi Arabians.

People guess I'm Greek, Spanish or Italian (or just think I'm straight up "Jewish"/Israeli). ... But in no way do I take that to mean they think I "just look white", even when they ignorantly say they think that. No. I trust they're seeing someone "mixed" with black/white because the Greeks, Italians and Spanish are located just above North Africa and many of them have Moorish ancestry and you can look at them and see they aren't just white. And there are Jewish and Israeli people that look "mixed" and there are many tribes/ethnicities it comprises (though I happen to be an Ashkenazi Jew).

So yeah, I think people usually DO know what time it is with many of us mixed folks. I think they unconsciously know we're mixed when they "mistake" us for the endless list of ethnic groups that just happen to be as mixed as we actually are

This also tells me we're probably not as "special"/rare as we're portrayed to be. I mean, sure, some of our experiences are special in that we often have to bridge more than one culture, but there are whole countries whose people reflect the genetic diversity we call "mixed".
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I get asked this question a whole lot. I'm not. I'm white. My mom is Irish, my dad is Italian. I have blue eyes and freckles. My hair is dark brown with a little bit of red. I'm white.

But I get asked this question completely randomly, and I was wondering if anyone else got it a lot. People ask when they meet me, whenever I offhandedly mention something about my hair, or occasionally at the cash register at Bojangles' (I kid you not, the cashier asked me once). I have 3Cish hair, I think, and I'll get some pictures up here eventually. I was just wondering if anyone else gets the question, and how you respond if you do (once someone actually didn't believe me, which was an interesting moment).
Originally Posted by rolltidegal

Ehh~People usually ask me and my sibs if were Mexican~And I dunno why, cause we don't look so. *Shrugs* KP
I'm mixed btw. With a lot. So I do get that a lot too. Coarse. KD
Yeah, I'm mixed.

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[B][SIZE=3][FONT=Georgia]Yes, girl, I can definitely relate to this! I live in South Florida which has a big Hispanic/Latino population and people speak Spanish to me all the time. I'm very fair-skinned but with very dark hair and dark eyes, so perhaps that explains why people often think I'm Cuban or Dominican or anything but what I really am...black and white, ...
Originally Posted by curlyhoneyb
Don't know if this helps clarify your experience, but sounds to me like they probably CAN tell you are "black and white" Many or most Latino, Cuban and Dominican people are a mix of African and Caucasian ... and often more. If they think you're Puerto Rican or Brazilian, same thing. Heck, same if they say you look like an Arab - all those groups are very racially mixed. Many North Africans (leaving out most Sudanese, Somalians, Eritreans and Ethiopians) can blend right in with Saudi Arabians.

People guess I'm Greek, Spanish or Italian (or just think I'm straight up "Jewish"/Israeli). ... But in no way do I take that to mean they think I "just look white", even when they ignorantly say they think that. No. I trust they're seeing someone "mixed" with black/white because the Greeks, Italians and Spanish are located just above North Africa and many of them have Moorish ancestry and you can look at them and see they aren't just white. And there are Jewish and Israeli people that look "mixed" and there are many tribes/ethnicities it comprises (though I happen to be an Ashkenazi Jew).

So yeah, I think people usually DO know what time it is with many of us mixed folks. I think they unconsciously know we're mixed when they "mistake" us for the endless list of ethnic groups that just happen to be as mixed as we actually are

This also tells me we're probably not as "special"/rare as we're portrayed to be. I mean, sure, some of our experiences are special in that we often have to bridge more than one culture, but there are whole countries whose people reflect the genetic diversity we call "mixed".
Originally Posted by Korkscrew
I understand, but what I mean is that I don't come from the ethnic groups mentioned (Cuban, Dominican, etc). I know that they are also diverse in phenotype because of racial admixture. That's pretty obvious with many Dominicans, too, with a variety of complexions and hair types.

I'm what I would consider to be a non-Hispanic mixed person, if that makes sense. Kind of like Lonette McKee (actress) or heck, even Derek Jeter and Wentworth Miller. Or Halle Berry and Barack Obama. Some people would think Lonette McKee is Hispanic, which isn't a race, but you get where I'm going. But she is just a woman from Detroit with a Swedish mother and a Black American father. I guess there is no difference to some folks but to me, there is...because I'm not part of any Latin culture and I didn't grow up in a Spanish-speaking home or anything. Neither of my parents or grandparents are Latino. That's what I mean. Culture is part of what defines a person, not just what they appear to be. To my knowledge, I have no Latin/Hispanic or Asian ancestry, but I frequently get mistaken for being part of those groups depending on who looks at me. I think it's my coloring and the shape of my eyes.

I'm not saying it's bad, that's just the way it is. And I don't think that biracial/multiracial people as a whole see ourselves as special or rare, but you're right...sometimes there are experiences that aren't always understood by people who aren't mixed. And I do agree that there are similarities at times between "mixed" people and other groups in terms of physical features. Halle Berry, for instance, reminds me of some women in Trinidad and Jamaica that we call "douglas" because she looks like a mix of Black/Indian. The Caribbean and West Indies has a lot of admixture too.

I also had some experiences when I was younger where people would insist that I had to be Cuban or Colombian or "some type of Spanish" and that I was obviously lying about my background. Now that is somewhat upsetting, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being Latino/Hispanic, but it bothers me to hear ignorant comments like that. I guess it's the fact that an assumption is being made and the assumption is false. This one guy went around telling people about the "Colombian girl" (me) when it wasn't true. And I'm like a deer in headlights when people speak to me in rapid-fire Spanish, because I don't understand most of what is being said. The times I can understand is when racist comments are being made, unfortunately. Like the woman who referred to my hair as "feo y sucio" (ugly and dirty).


I see myself as both black AND mixed, although my skin is white. But I respect everyone's right to identify as they see fit.

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I don't know why anyone would get angry over that question....?
Originally Posted by AnnieRose
Because depending on how it is asked, it can be offensive, esp. from a stranger.

I guess it's because people of mixed race (and those who look like they could be mixed) often encounter ignorance and stereotypes. Personally, I've always been asked "what are you?" all my life.

After a while, the question gets old. I get tired of constantly having to explain why I look this way. Sometimes I just want to be me, know what I mean? Without having to talk about my race/ethnicity/nationality/ancestry and all that jazz.

Sometimes a person simply wants to get through the day without being stared at like they're a freak show and constantly questioned about their background.
I don't know why anyone would get angry over that question....?
Originally Posted by AnnieRose
I'm also sincerely interested in why the "What are you?" question is felt to be so offensive ... aside from a situation where the person asking seems to have nefarious intentions, like: to know if you're of a certain ethnicity they'd rather avoid, or for them to know what racist things they can/cannot say in front of you. Or maybe some think it's "too personal". But idk, I mean "What do you do for a living?" doesn't seem to get people hot, usually. And I consider that somewhat personal too (not that I mind being asked).

There probably are reasons for feeling offended that I just haven't considered, as I'm just one person with one set of experiences. Personally, I just figure there's nothing wrong with someone expressing some curiosity about me, and in a way, it's flattering because there's something they find interesting about me. Plus I figure they have the right to ask me whatever they want and I have the right to answer, or not.
Originally Posted by Korkscrew
I can only speak for myself, but for me it has a lot to do with the tone and the intent of the question. That and the person's history with having been asked this question.

For instance, I grew up in Baltimore, which is largely black with some white people. We rarely ever saw anyone of any other race, so when I was growing up and kids said to me, "What are you?," they didn't mean it in a nice way. They meant why do you look different from every other person I've ever seen. And that hurt.

Nowadays, when someone says, "What's your ethnic background?", that doesn't bother me much. Like you say, they are mostly just curious. I actually find my ethnic ambiguity and the combinations I've been asked funny.
Originally Posted by elizard
ITA, elizard. I'm not saying I would bite somebody's head off for asking but it is a question that makes me very uncomfortable, esp. if the person is asking with any type of attitude or weird behavior towards me. It makes me wonder why they care about something like that. Are they racist/ignorant or simply rude? Who asks a stranger what "race" they are? Why does it matter? To me, it makes me feel like they are the type to judge others according to race/color instead of seeing me as a fellow human being.

People can also be very rude when asking this particular question. It really is none of their business, but I would see nothing wrong with it if they could be more respectful about it. In my own personal experience, that is rarely the case. I've had some very painful experiences with this and how I've been treated. Most people who have asked me about my background weren't nice about it at all.

So I have trouble with seeing it as innocent curiosity most of the time. I know that some people really don't mean anything by it, but there are many others who are asking for reasons that aren't positive. Not saying that folks are out to get me or anything, but some people are prejudiced and there is a reason they feel the need to know stuff like this...some people want to feel superior to others. It makes them uncomfortable when they can't "classify" you and put you in a box.

I remember when I was younger and I was with a white friend and this other girl that I didn't know very well. The other girl always seemed to have an attitude with me for no apparent reason. One day she was picking on the fact that I was wearing lip gloss (wtf?!) and she said, very snarkily, out of the blue: "What ARE you, anyway?" It's just the way she said it...her tone and demeanor was just very negative. It was almost like she was trying to imply something bad because I looked different. So I replied, very casually: "a human being". My friend busted out laughing while the girl who asked the question rolled her eyes and screwed up her face.


I'm still proud of my 14-year-old self for handling it that way. I'm now 29. I know some people might see my response as rude, but really...she was being a witch about it. I've also had some very derogatory comments about my ivory skin coupled with 4a/4b curly kinky hair and the comments were shockingly racist. So I can only speak for myself in saying that the questions aren't always innocent. Sometimes the intent is to be mean and hurtful. People definitely weren't appreciating my beauty, they went out of their way to make me feel ugly and ashamed of my heritage, like I didn't belong.


I know that some folks have only had positive experiences, though.

I replied earlier but I just have to say that I believe for the most part people that are annoyed or bothered by the question must still be very young because once you get a certain age you really shouldn't care. Yes people have asked me that question a lot throughout my life but at this point it's really not a problem.

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Last edited by kurlygurly; 12-17-2012 at 10:11 AM.
I actually get asked this quite a lot, and when I ask why they say because of my skin color and hair. When my hair was long and straight I was asked if i was Indian. Now that it's shorter and curly people ask if i'm mixed.
In my earlier years I was somewhat of a lighter skin tone so i got asked in grade school a lot.
But sometimes it offends me by the response I get when answering the question.
"You HAVE to be mixed black people just don't have hair like that"
"Why would you lie?"
It get annoying very fast.
Both of my parents are african american.
Therefore so am I.
I actually get asked this quite a lot, and when I ask why they say because of my skin color and hair. When my hair was long and straight I was asked if i was Indian. Now that it's shorter and curly people ask if i'm mixed.
In my earlier years I was somewhat of a lighter skin tone so i got asked in grade school a lot.
But sometimes it offends me by the response I get when answering the question.
"You HAVE to be mixed black people just don't have hair like that"
"Why would you lie?"
It get annoying very fast.
Both of my parents are african american.
Therefore so am I.
Originally Posted by Always@night
I get the same answer when they ask me. "black people don't look like you or have hair like yours and your eyes change color, but you from Louisiana so you must be creole" I'm not creole just a black woman that I guess look strange to some. My oldest daughter get the same responses. It bothers her because she is young but it doesn't bother me anymore.
I actually get asked this quite a lot, and when I ask why they say because of my skin color and hair. When my hair was long and straight I was asked if i was Indian. Now that it's shorter and curly people ask if i'm mixed.
In my earlier years I was somewhat of a lighter skin tone so i got asked in grade school a lot.
But sometimes it offends me by the response I get when answering the question.
"You HAVE to be mixed black people just don't have hair like that"
"Why would you lie?"
It get annoying very fast.
Both of my parents are african american.
Therefore so am I.
Originally Posted by Always@night
I get the same answer when they ask me. "black people don't look like you or have hair like yours and your eyes change color, but you from Louisiana so you must be creole" I'm not creole just a black woman that I guess look strange to some. My oldest daughter get the same responses. It bothers her because she is young but it doesn't bother me anymore.
Originally Posted by Luvmycurls3
When you get right down to it, the large majority of African Americans are of a mixed background. And to be perfectly honest, if you have looser curls and lighter eyes, it can be said with almost 100% certainty that you are indeed mixed somewhere in your geneology. Now, does that give someone the right to second guess your blackness? No. You can choose to identify with whichever part of your heritage that you like. Don't let someone try to tell me I'm not Native American!
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I replied earlier but I just have to say that I believe for the most part people that are annoyed or bothered by the question must still be very young because once you get a certain age you really shouldn't care. Yes people have asked me that question a lot throughout my life but at this point it's really not a problem.

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Originally Posted by kurlygurly
Hmm...but in my case, I'm not that young. I mean, 29 is still pretty young, but it's far from being a kid.

I don't really agree that once a person gets to a certain age they should stop caring. It depends on the individual and the experiences they've had, know what I mean? Some people don't mind, while others are offended or uncomfortable because of things that tend to happen when the question is asked.

I believe that if one has encountered racism/discrimination constantly, as I have, then the questions about race will start to bother you (not you, general "you") a lot.

I'm very shy and I just don't want to deal with stares or rude comments about my ethnic background all the time...it's annoying. I don't think it has much to do with age, it's just that I don't strike up conversations with people about race and stuff, especially people I don't know very well. I care more about who people are, not *what* they are. If a person is nice or they show interest in being my friend, that's a bit different. It's all about the vibe they put out. But rarely do I meet people who ask the question without some undertone of hostility or making me feel like an "other"...maybe it's just where I live. And I'm not the type to look for negativity when it isn't there. I can tell when somebody is innocently asking and when they're asking because of some stereotype/preconceived notion they have based on my appearance.

I mean, sure...I find other cultures interesting and cool and whatnot, but I don't feel the need to dig into anyone's ancestry to find out why they look a certain way. I admire their beauty and keep it moving. They might not want to share that information with me, not because they're ashamed of their heritage, but because it's kind of irrelevant in a brief exchange. I'm not their friend, they'll probably never see me again, plus I know how it feels, so I simply avoid going there. I don't want to be defined by my race only and I try to give others the same respect.

Just my two cents, though...I wish I could be more tolerant of this sort of thing.

Sorry to sound overly sensitive, y'all...this is a subject I could talk about for days, trust me.

I wouldn't say the question itself bothers me, it's more the rude and ignorant responses I get after I have given my answer. I am 18 turning 19 and pretty nonchalant about these things until someone becomes disrespectful as with any other questions someone might ask.
Yes, I am.

My Mother is black - Cuban and Jamaican, and my Father is white.






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Last edited by CurlyCarmenCurly; 12-20-2012 at 08:13 AM.
And the question doesn't offend me at all. What does offend me is when people ask me my ethnicity and when I say mixed/biracial, they say 'oh, you're black then', or repeatedly refer to me as black when I am not. Or when people try to argue with me about my ethnicity.






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