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.
Originally Posted by curlyhoneyb
I understand the cognitive dissonance - the fact that you're assumed to be (and treated as) a member of a culture/s you aren't even associated with. Same thing happens to me. Frequently.

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 see your point about the West Indies. My mom is West Indian and you can see that racial admixture by looking at her. But she looks mostly black (she's beautiful). My dad is a white balding Jew and he just looks German (he's German/Russian).

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).
Seems that's one of those challenges that are so universal to those of us who look "racially ambiguous", right? People get anxious and want to be able to define other people and things in a way that's congruent with their own life experiences and world view. So others get defined within narrow parameters. You just "had" to be Colombian, possibly because it was uncomfortable for him to see you as anything else once he'd decided on that "fact".

Gawd. No excuse for that crap comment about your hair. People can be real s*** heads sometimes

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.
Thanks for sharing your experiences [/QUOT

No, thank YOU for being so understanding. Not to be all "woe is me", but it hasn't been easy at all. It is very difficult to feel comfortable in one's own skin when the world isn't very accepting, know what I mean?

I grew up being told that I had "n*gger" hair, that my skin was too white, being bullied by people of different races, having people question who my parents were and why I looked this way, being abused...and it was tough.

And it wasn't like I grew up in some backwoods little town in the middle of nowhere. I grew up in a huge city with people of ALL races and cultures. So it's crazy to me that people would care so much about that stuff where I live. I was exposed to a lot of diversity from an early age. I ate Indian food, Ethiopian cuisine, I had family that lived all over the world, my mom once lived with a dude from Ghana and we would attend parties where all races/colors were welcome...I guess I took it all for granted and hoped that people would just accept me for who I was, warts and all.

When I realized that people did indeed see color and they would treat me according to whatever their prejudices were, it hurt.