Tips for Mixed Folks

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2017 by jerlina

Some people are given clear identities when they are born and those identities work for them over the course of a long period. For most mixed race folks, we are given a social identity i.e. are told that we are mixed race at a young age and over time this identity is challenged. It is this challenge that can provoke an identity crisis. We develop a sense of doubt in who we think we are and this sense of doubt can linger and/or fester over time. A few suggestions I have cultivated over the course of writing this blog are:

  1. define your ‘cultural’ self according to your respective ethnicities. You will be challenged far less, if at all.
  2. Take any racial identity that society projects onto you with lightheartedness. Seriously, don’t take any of it too seriously. This social construct does not work very well for multi-ethnic people so instead of trying to make it work for us, let’s just not give it too much weight in our lives. Ultimately, I have found that taking our racial identities seriously is almost always more harmful for our healthy development of self.
  3. Get to know other multi-ethnic folks. Spend time with them, if not in person at least online. It is important for us to feel like our experiences are normal.
  4. stay connected to folks of all of the ethnic groups which you identify with. If you have any trauma or difficult feelings related to any of these groups, work on resolving these issues and developing a healthy connection with all of the groups that make up who you are.
  5. Cultivate your general sense of health and wellbeing. Exercise, meditate, laugh, eat well. Do not focus on this acute issue without doing the generalist work that will promote your overall wellness. Focusing acutely on your racial identity without a general sense of wellness can increase negative feelings (stress, anxiety, confusion) rather than relieve them.
  6. Cultivate gratitude for your family, friends and all of those things that bring connection and joy into your life. Focusing on what you are grateful for can help resolve the ‘tunnel vision’ experience that can develop when you are trying to figure out your racial identity concerns.
  7. Your racial identity is defined by how OTHER people or, how society perceives you. This identity might not reflect your lived experience and/or it can shift when you move around the country and the world. When someone asks you who you are (racially/ culturally) they are generally trying to get more information about who you are. If you provide your ethnic background, this will allow the person to make their own conclusions about your racial identity, if that is of interest to them. I strongly suggest to sticking to facts and details that feel true to you.
  8. You can claim many identities, at the same time. I identify as black and mixed race and multi-ethnic and half white.
  9. Cultivate principles and practices that will make you feel proud of yourself. you are so so so much more than your racial identity.
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The Overlap of Jewish and Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2017 by jerlina

I have said this many times: The Jewish and the Mixed Race ( half white/ half black) experience in the US is very similar and precisely I would state it like this: Jewish people are white people who are also minorities. Mixed race people are minorities who are also white. We are both members of groups who have historically been oppressed by the white majority but we are also part of the white majority. What an interesting place to live! So, with this thought, I want to do more research into how Jewish folks have navigated this place. It is no surprise to me that two of my best friends are Jewish, because we experience the world in very similar ways. This post was inspired by this intriguing episode of This American Life where a Hasidic Jewish community in New York State takes over a school district and does some wacky stuff.

http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/widget/widget.min.js

One more thing, I have always found it intriguing that a disproportionate half white/ half black folks are in fact half jewish/ half black. Maybe because Jewish folks are typically more liberal? I don’t have an explanation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/05/black-jewish-celebrities_n_3872511.html

 

Defending White People

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2017 by jerlina

I am a brown woman who was raised by my white mom. She was a terrific parent and continues to be the most important person in my life. As I age I am becoming her in many ways and that makes me happy. She is a very kind and generous person and I am proud of her. In some ways our identities are fused, as is common with mothers and daughters. In addition this important relationship I have with my mom, who has devoted her entire life to me and my brother, I also have other very important relationships with other white folks, namely two of my closest friends and my boyfriend. So, when a close friend of mine, who is African American, stated venting to me yesterday about how stupid and terrible white people are, I got nervous and frustrated. On one hand I knew that as a ‘woke’ person I am not supposed to defend white people. However, wasn’t she talking about my mom, my close friends and my boyfriend? If she had added ‘some’ before repeatedly trashing white people, I would have felt a lot more comfortable. Racism is real, really real, so i empathized with her frustrations. However, white people are definitely not the only ones who perpetuate it. Also, she is a close friend of mine so she knows where I come from. She even knows my mom really well. So it boggled my mind that she would trash this race of people, from which I come, so violently. I wondered ‘can she see me? or, is she considering who I am at all?’ It felt confusing. Maybe she was so upset that she just didn’t care. Anyway, I just sat there and listened to it, I felt like I was getting beat up. I remained uncomfortable for the rest of our visit.

I just did not know what to say. Clearly she was suffering so i wanted to support her but she was saying things that directly implicated the people who i love most in the world- not all white people, but a few of them. Also, the person who has hurt me the most in this world- my dad, is Black. This does not mean by any stretch that I think all Black folks are bad, however, he reminds me that there are challenging black people and challenging white people. I really can’t favor a side. Ultimately, this felt like a very real mixed girl moment. It was almost the defining moment- feeling like I am apart of both worlds at once and not wanting to take sides.

Mixed Girl Hair

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2017 by jerlina

The struggle is real. So real that I went from straightening my hair to locks so that I wouldn’t have to deal with my curly mop. I am currently unlocking my hair and am worried about having to deal with my curls again. However, they are part of me and I am ready to embrace them. Also, there is a new curly hair salon in the Bay Area that I think can help me. I wish they had been around when I was young. Oh the tears.

http://www.allure.com/story/sinead-bovell-embracing-natural-hair-texture

Gross Couple Stuff Illustrations

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2017 by jerlina

I was pleasantly surprised by how many interracial couples that are illustrated in this buzzfeed quiz. Cute.

 

https://www.buzzfeed.com/farrahpenn/how-many-of-these-gross-couple-milestones-have-you?utm_term=.ujqez0v8O#.nejy0kDv8

 

Black Women Share Their Awful Interracial Dating Stories

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2017 by jerlina

Oh Vice… Leave it to them to publish the spicey article on interracial dating:

 

Black Women Share Their Awful Interracial Dating Stories

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/nev4kd/black-women-share-their-awful-interracial-dating-stories

1499981324991-INTERRACIAL_DATING

Whiteness

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2017 by jerlina

Oh whiteness, you are so sneaky. So quiet but always in the (biracial) room. Tonight I had the realization that white people are eerily silent on the issue of biracial identity and that it sure is difficult to define yourself as 1/2 white when no one seems to know what being white really is. Well, certainly there are books on whiteness, so I think I’ll look into those. After this realization, about the lack of white voices on this subject and the role that whiteness plays in the confusion over mixed race/ biracial identity, I googled all sorts of combinations pertaining to whiteness and biracials. in Meghan’s Elle article she gives a glimpse at her (white) dad’s perspective on the matter. Then I found this article and thread:

One Thing I Can’t Pass On to My Daughter: White Privilege

https://www.brainchildmag.com/2013/10/one-thing-i-cant-pass-on-to-my-daughter-white-privilege/